The Southern Bald Ibis is an endemic Southern African bird that occurs in high rainfall, high altitude, short grasslands, and has a special preference for areas where recent burns occurred. It will also forage in recently ploughed fields and cultivated pastures. These birds feed on insects and other invertebrates, usually foraging in small flocks though at times up to 100 can congregate together. Bald ibisses breed in colonies on ledges on high cliffs, laying 2 or 3 eggs that are incubated for four weeks in nests built of sticks and grass. They weigh about a kilogram and are about 80cm long from head to tail.
The IUCN considers the Southern Bald Ibis conservation status “vulnerable”, owing to its limited distribution and ongoing destruction of its habitat for agriculture and forestry. They occur only on the central highlands of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, with an overall population of perhaps 8,000 to 10,000 birds, with around 2,000 breeding pairs occurring in 200 or so colonies. In our experience, good places to go looking for the Southern bald Ibis would be Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the reserves of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Ithala Game Reserve, and Chelmsford Nature Reserve.