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Black-headed Ibis or Oriental White Ibis:Threskiornis melanocephalus

Black-headed Ibis or Oriental White Ibis (Didhar)
Threskiornis melanocephalus
 
 
Black-headed Ibis or Oriental White Ibis: Threskiornis melanocephalus. Local Name: Didhar, Safed baza, Munda.
 
Status: Near-threatened.
 
It's ironical that the bird listed as 'Near-threatened' - and rightly so I may add - has been sighted by me in all waterland areas of northern, north-western and western India, where I've spent time birding past couple of years, in varying numbers, from large flocks to smaller numbers. However, I have never been able to photograph them properly with my rudimentary photography kit. The white and black coloration of these birds in bright sunlight from a distance always produced blurry qualities at most zoom levels. And these birds do not allow one to get too close, no matter how much you creep through and crouch patiently in the waterside reeds and muck. They wizen up. Other birds creating a racket about one doesn't help with camouflage either. Maybe with the more expensive bazookas, one can sit back comfortably at a safe distance and yet get clear, crisp shots. That's my saga with this bird.
 
It is about 70-80 centimeters in size wityh white feathers on body; a long black neck;  a prominent naked black head devoid of feathers ending in a long down-curved black bill. There may be yellowish-orange-brown or slate grey coloration beneath wings and on rump during breeding season. As if air-brushed onto a white canvas. The legs are long glossy black.
 
These birds are found in flocks/parties scattered across the marshy wetlands they inhabit. They may cluster on islands within wetland marshes.
 
Their nests are made of twigs atop trees near waterbodies just like storks. At Keoladeo Ghana last November, they were spotted in about a hundred numbers of them among the mixed population of many hundreds - might be in thousands - of storks and other ibises nesting atop trees there. 
 
They don't make much noise, just like the Wooly-necked storks in this regard, and unlike other storks and cranes.
 
Breeding seasons are in segments, from June to February, divided across India.
 
Am saving up for a low-end bazooka lens kit (which might take more than a year!) and hope to catch these birds with it next season of birding.

You guessed right, their main threat is Anthropogenic. This bird is vulnerable to drainage, disturbance, pollution, and agricultural conversion of waterlands; and also, hunting of adults, eggs and chicks by humans.
 
 
 
Photographed at Kumbhargaon, Maharashtra, India, on 19th January, 2014.
 
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm VR Lens
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