Thursday, September 11, 2008

google search: why don't you find baby hadeda ibises

given their domination over JHB skies - especially at sunrise (!!) - a good question. Answer is because they mostly nest really high in very big trees, so any babies that fall before they fledge (and can therefore at least glide, even if not fly properly) are pretty dead by ground-impact time.

I wonder why more little (well, comparatively, at least) bodies aren't found, but my guess is that they are often confused with semi-adult pigeons. We get an awful lot of baby pigeons that are thought to be hadedas. And the rest are probably eaten by dogs etc.

But baby hadedas are really cute - picture an adult reduced in size to about a quarter, with fluff instead of feathers, and a beak of an inch or two in length. The pic is of a fledgling, so already has feathers and is quite a bit bigger


Aqua said...

They are so cute Post a pic of an adult. How big do they get?

jcat said...

Looking for a good pic! Or will take one next time I am at the centre.

Roughly though, they end up about 23 inches, roughly the size of a large cat, but with long legs and a loooooonng beak! They have colonised most of JHB in the last 20 years, and seem to gain great joy from getting every dog in the area to bark furiously. They have a really really loud call, that sounds something like you screaming 'ha-ha-ha-de-dah' as loudly as you can while pinching your nose shut....

They eat mostly worms and insects, and have an uncanny ability to walk along, suddenly plunge 3 or 4 inches of beak into the ground and come up with something wriggly.

Mostly, I figure that they are the closest living relative to a pterodactyl - it's the only thing I've ever seen that looks vaguely like one.

Catherine Elaine Baxter said...

I have noticed a baby Hadida in my garden in Pmb which is attempting to fly, but cannot seem to get a lift-off. What I think were it's parents, were evident for a couple of days, but for a day now has been no sign. The baby is seeking shelter under shrubs, but I am afraid it will perish. The neighbours cats also come into my garden regularly and I am afraid this baby will become a meal. Any suggestions as to how I deal with this situation please. Would the parents abandon the baby before it could learn to fly ?