How many ibis?

Inner West Council is encouraging residents to participate in the upcoming annual Australian White Ibis Community Survey, and Aussie Backyard Bird Count.

The results will assist in developing conservation practices, and a better understanding of the distribution and abundance of birds in Sydney and across NSW.

Prior to the 1970s, the white ibis (a protected species) was rarely sighted in urban areas and did not breed in the Sydney region, but have now become a common sight throughout the Inner West Council area.

The east coast of Australia is considered a refuge for displaced Australian White Ibis from their traditional inland wetland habitat in response to prolonged drought and damaging water management practices.

While often seen as a nuisance, ibis are in fact an integral part of our cultural heritage. Their long-term presence in the landscape is reflected in Indigenous culture and stories across Australia.

Nesting colonies of wetland birds such as Australian White Ibis, heron and egrets are a sign of a healthy wetland ecosystem.

A key question for the species and for population management in NSW is whether the ibis will eventually return inland.

Developed in 2010, the Sydney Basin Australian White Ibis Regional Management Plan looks to conserve a sustainable target population of 6,500-8,800 individuals.

This year the annual Australian White Ibis Community Survey is being held between Monday 17 and Sunday 23 October (National Bird Week), coordinated by NSW Environment and Heritage.

At this time of year, ibis are most likely to be seen nesting in Canary Island date palms or near water, which the inner west has in good supply.

The ibis survey coincides with the Aussie Backyard Bird Count . Sightings can be recorded using the Aussie Bird Count app: Playstore or iTunes .

To take part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, spend 20 minutes in a ‘green patch’ of choice, and record any birds on the ‘Aussie Bird Count’ app or website. Observers can instantly see live statistics and information on how many people are taking part and the number of birds and species counted not just across the neighbourhood but the whole of Australia.

All counts are welcome, whether at the local wetland or park, or even a casual coincidental observation.

For the ibis survey, go to For the Backyard Bird Count, go to:

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Page last updated: 03 Jun 2022