Bostrychia hagedash - The Hadeda Ibis

The hadeda (or hadada) ibis has a stocky, heavy body with grey-brown feathers.

On its shoulders, there is a beautiful iridescent pink splash, and its long bill is de-curved, which means that it curves downwards for optimal feeding, as it pulls worms out of the ground.

The hadeda, as it is more commonly known, usually lives and moves around in flocks of up to 20 birds. Out of the breeding season, this number can be as high as 100 birds.

Did you know? Hadeda Ibis has a distinctively loud, and penetrating and recognisable haa-haa-haa-de-dah call, after which it is named.

The Hadeda Ibis has a distinctively loud, penetrating and recognisable haa-haa-haa-de-dah call that is often heard when the birds are flying or when startled, hence the name, Hadeda.


Weight: 1.3 kgs.
Length: 76 cm.


Hadedas are not as dependent on water as many of their ibis relatives. Still, they favour the areas along streams and rivers, and can often be found in wetlands.

They also enjoy being in areas where humans live, and are commonly seen in suburban gardens or on sports fields and greens. They can be spotted in the grasslands and bushveld too, where they are likely to find plenty of food.


The hadeda ibis is common throughout South Africa, excluding parts of the arid Karoo.

To see them in their natural habitat, visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary in Pretoria, the Pet Masters Bird Park in Johannesburg, the Highover Wildlife Sanctuary (near Richmond in the Natal Midlands), or Birds of Eden, near Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route.


Hadedas are carnivorous and their diet consists mainly of earthworms, millipedes, insects, spiders and small reptiles. When they’re in people’s gardens, they will often dine on snails too.


The hadeda ibis is a social bird, moving around in flocks of up to 20 or 30 birds (which can increase to 100 individuals out of breeding season). They are monogamous and are solitary nesters, sticking to one mate for life, if possible.


This bird breeds from July to January in South Africa, as breeding usually begins just after the winter rains. They lay between one and five eggs, which are incubated by both parents until they are ready to hatch.

The chicks are fed regurgitated food by both parents.

They fledge at around 33 days, and are completely independent by about 40 days old.


Incubation lasts for up to 28 days.

Life Expectancy

16 to 20 years.


These birds are hunted by the African crowned eagle and black sparrowhawk. Sadly, humans remain one of their most common threats, thanks to poison and loss of natural habitat.

References / Bibliography

Biodiversity Explorer; Sasol's "Birds of Southern Africa", Fourth Edition.

Where to see Hadeda Ibis in their natural habitat?

Want to see hadeda ibis in their natural habitat? In South Africa, see hadeda ibis in these nature reserves and parks...

Conservation Status
Hadeda Ibis
Kruger Park's Big 6 Birds
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