The Northern Bald Ibis is a critically endangered species that is highly social and congregates in large flocks. At one time two separate populations existed– a non-migratory Northern African/European population and a migratory Middle-eastern population. It has been of special focus of both European Zoos and US Zoos to keep a healthy captive population with the intent of preserving the species.
Many cultural myths are associated with this species and some scholars believe this species was the representative of the Ancient Egyptian God of Knowledge, Thoth. With the conflicts in Syria and other portions of the Middle East, that migratory population has been under extreme pressure and was feared to have been lost. However, recent sightings have confirmed that a few birds still remain. The good news is that it’s been confirmed that the Northern African population has been growing and is starting to form satellite colonies. The @HoustonZoo, where this bird was photographed, supports this species by being an active member of the SSP (species Survival Plan) and, along with the other Zoos in this program, works to safeguard the species for future generations.
To see a portrait of this bird, check out @joelsartore!