Morocco, Syria, Turkey (reintroduced).
Mainly grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and their larvae, lizards. Also centipedes, ants and their eggs, caterpillars, woodlice, spiders, scorpions, snails, earthworms, tadpoles, frogs, fish.
Habitat: Rocky areas, cliffs and escarpments in arid regions
Incubation: 24-28 days / 2-4 eggs
Social structure: Loose flocks of 20-50 birds.
Weight: males 1540g max, females 1470g max
Dimensions: 80cm max
Estimated population in the wild: ~700
Threats: Habitat loss due to agriculture, disturbance at the breeding sites, hunting.
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
Did you know that:
- The genus name, Geronticus, derives from the Greek word "γέρων", meaning old man and refers to the bald head and the black feathers. Eremita derives from the Greek word "ἐρημίτης", meaning hermit, referring to their desert habitat.
- The species has been idolised by humans as a symbol of fertility and virtue.
- In Ancient Egypt the hieroglyph of the Northern Bald Ibis represented the word akh, which stood for excellence, glory, honour, and virtue.
- Today it is the most threatened species in the Middle East.