Projects of the Animal Demography Unit

Colour-ringing of Hadeda Ibis on the Cape Peninsula

Res Altwegg and Doug Harebottle
Animal Demography Unit
Adult Hadeda Ibis
Photo Doug Harebottle
An adult Hadeda Ibis feeding in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, near Cape Town

Project background

Hadeda Ibis were first recorded in the SW Cape in the late 1960s, spreading to Somerset West by the late 1970s and to the suburbs of Cape Town and the Peninsula by the mid-late 1980s. By the early 1990s they had established themselves as breeding residents. Their numbers have increased considerably since their arrival in Cape Town over 20 years ago, and Hadedas are now a common and regular sight in parks, on sportsfields & schoolfields and even in suburban gardens.

This range expansion from its original range in the eastern regions of South Africa is believed to have been due to a population increase in its original range and the provision of large plantations of alien trees for roosting and breeding, and agricultural lands for feeding in the Western Cape. But what factors are responsible for the large population increase in the Cape Town Metropol and why are these birds so successful living in a man-made environment? These are the main questions being asked in this study and which are hoped to be answered through a colour-ringing study over the next three years, starting in September 2006.

Both pre-fledging birds (older chicks that are still nest bound) and adults will be caught and colour-banded. Birds will be fitted with a SAFRING metal ring and a single engraved colour-ring: Red (with white-engraved letters) is being used for chicks and Yellow (with black engraved letters) for adults. Since adults will be more difficult to catch, it is envisaged that a larger number of chicks will initially be banded.

Hadeda Ibis chick
Photo Doug Harebottle
A Hadeda Ibis chick ringed at Die Oog Bird Sanctuary, Bergvliet, Cape Town, with an engraved colour ring

How you can help...

You can make an important contribution to this study by reporting any colour-ringed Hadedas in the coming months (and years). If you do see any birds with a red or yellow engraved ring please report your sighting to SAFRING (Tel. 021 - 6502421) at the University of Cape Town, or to Res Altwegg, the project coordinator, and include the following information:

All ringwatchers reporting re-sightings will be acknowledged and a report will be sent to you detailing the history of the bird's movements etc.

You can also report any active nests to Res or Doug (contact details below).

Progress to date

Ringing. To date 80 chicks have been ringed at 31 nest sites.

Map of Hadeda ibis ringing localities
Photo Google Earth
Map showing nests (n=31) at which chicks have been ringed since 31 August 2006. Updated 11 October 2007

Photo gallery

Click here to see additional photos of hadedas, hadeda chicks, hadeda nests and ringing operations