Australian White Ibis

Australian White Ibis is a native bird that is common and widespread in northern and eastern Australia. Its preferred habitat is swamps, floodplains and grasslands, however it is also commonly seen in urban parks and gardens. Ibis can be seen regularly throughout the Camden LGA particularly in the parks and garden areas, for example Lake Annan, Mount Annan.

The Australian White Ibis is a very adaptable species that has a bad reputation because they are known to eat human scraps, including those from tips and for this reason they are often called ‘Tip Turkeys’. Its preferred diet consists of a range of food including both terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates.

The Ibis are native but not to the urban environment. The large populations in Sydney, including Lake Annan, Mount Annan, is due to human impacts – their natural inland wetlands have been degraded by increased agricultural water extraction, habitat loss and harsh drought. The plentiful supply of food in the urban environment i.e. open landfills and direct feeding by humans, has allowed the urban ibis population to boom in recent years.

This bird has become a common fixture within the Camden LGA, particularly at Lake Annan, Mount Annan. During the breeding season (July to December) the numbers increase significantly impacting on local residents due to the noise and the smell that they create, the local environment as they remove native vegetation and anything else they can find to build their nests, and polluting local waterways with their waste.

To manage the population and the overall impacts that the Australian White Ibis has on residents and the local environment, Council adopted a Management Plan for the Australian White Ibis at Lake Annan in 2013. In December 2016, floating wetlands were installed surrounding the island within Lake Annan, to improve the water quality of the lake. An Addendum to the Management Plan was adopted in January 2019, to include the floating wetlands within the management area. This species is protected in NSW and as a result, Council had to obtain licences from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to enable some of the management strategies such as egg oiling and burning of a portion of abandoned Australian White Ibis nests to be implemented.

For further information download the Australian White Ibis Management Plan.

For more information contact Council’s Sustainability Team on 4654 7777.

Ibis Watch

Camden Council Officers currently monitor Ibis at Lake Annan every fortnight during the breeding season (July to December), and monthly at other times (January to June). Monitoring techniques such as population counts, egg counts and nest placement monitoring are conducted.

The Ibis population fluctuates throughout the year, increasing throughout the breeding season and decreasing as egg laying declines. As the breeding season has commenced, Council is currently monitoring Ibis at Lake Annan fortnightly. During the spring months, the average number of Ibis recorded at Lake Annan averaged approximately 400 birds. As the breeding season is slowing down, and average of 200 birds have been recorded at Lake Annan since the beginning of summer. The number of birds currently inhabiting Lake Annan is normal for this period of their breeding cycle. Camden Council will continue to manage the population of Ibis at Lake Annan through egg oiling and ecological burning.

For more information contact Council’s Natural Resource Project Officer on 4654 7777.