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the web of life in southern Africa

Bostrychia hagedash (Hadeda ibis)

Hadeda [Afrikaans]; Ing'ang'ane [Xhosa]; iNkankane [Zulu]; Ngoromuduva [Kwangali]; Lengaangane, Lengangane [South Sotho]; Lingangane [Swazi]; Xikohlwa hi jambo [Tsonga]; Hadada-ibis [Dutch]; Ibis hagedash [French]; Hagedasch-Ibis [German]; Singanga [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Ciconiiformes > Family: Threskiornithidae

Bostrychia hagedash (Hadeda ibis) Bostrychia hagedash (Hadeda ibis)
Hadeda ibis, Vredekloof, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ] Hadeda ibis, Kleinmond, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs across Africa south of the Sahel; in southern Africa, it is common in northern Botswana, the Caprivi Strip (Namibia), northern and southern Zimbabwe, Mozambique and much of South Africa, excluding parts of the arid Karoo. It generally prefers open grassland with well-wooded valleys and patches of dense woodland, also occurring in clearings in forest, marshes with short grass, moist grassland, irrigated croplands with lucerne and clover (Medicago), playing fields, pastures, airfields and lawns in suburbia.

Distribution of Hadeda ibis in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

Movements and migrations

Mainly sedentary, although it may make movements in response to rainfall, and juveniles tend to disperse from their parents territory after becoming independent.


It mainly eats invertebrates, doing most of its foraging on moist ground, probing for prey or taking them from the soil surface. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
  • Vertebrates
    • reptiles
  • Other
    • dog food taken from bowls


  • Monogamous, solitary nester, probably with a life-long pair bond.
  • The nest is probably built solely by the female in less than two weeks, rarely up to a month, consisting of a platform of sticks with a central bowl lined with grass, lichen, weeds, leaves and other debris. It is typically placed in the fork of a horizontal branch, or occasionally on another structure such a cliff, dam wall, telephone pole or pergola.
  • Egg-laying season is from June-March, peaking from September-November.
  • It lays 1-5 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 25-28 days, in shifts up to three hours.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents by regurgitation and brooded constantly for the first week of their life, less frequently thereafter. The chick leaves the nest at about 33-40 days old, becoming fully independent at roughly 60 days old.


Not threatened, in fact its range and population have greatly decreased in the past 75 years, largely due to an increase in the availability of nest sites and food from habitat modification by humans.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.