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Bald Ibis Birds in Turkey

Discover Turkey, home of Bald Ibis birds

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Turkey's Bald Ibis Birds

Bald Ibis birds are also known as Kelaynak in Turkish. The colony of the Bald Ibis lives only in Birecik district of Sanliurfa, on the Euphrates in southeastern Turkey.

Bald Ibis Birds

Bald Ibis birds are endangered in Turkey and recently, draw attention worldwide, also known as Kelaynak Birds in Turkish. For this, scientific researches and projects about these birds are important to perevent generation, reproduce and promotion.

Bald Ibis is a large black bird with its featherless head and neck and a long curved red beak, living in semi deserted or rocky habitats. The rest of their body is covered with dark purple feathers.

Symbol of Fertility

According to a legend, Bald Ibis (Kelaynak), one of the first birds Noah released from the Ark symbolized fertility. The monogamous Bald Ibis pairs for life, and each year returns to Birecik, Sanliurfa after its annual migration around Valentine's Day. This endangered bird species should be the symbol of love.


Life of Bald Ibis (Kelaynak)

Bald Ibis birds live in colonies nesting and mating on the steep rock cliffs to protect themselves and their eggs from wild animals and humans. They lay between 2 and 4 eggs and eat mainly insects, beetles, lizards, snails, worms, ants, small snakes and scorpions by probing with their long beak into cracks in the soil.

Birecik and its surroundings are a habitat of the critically endangered Bald Ibis. Bald Ibis mate for life, reaching maturity when around five years old. Their average lifespan is about 25-30 years.

Migration to Birecik

Bald Ibis birds come to Birecik in February and begin to nest around the middle of May. After breeding and rearing their young, they leave Birecik around July. The Bald Ibis is thought to nest in Birecik because of the high levels of calcite in the rocks, which is thought to help them to reproduce.

A breeding station was established in 1972 by the General Directorate of Forestry to protect the endangered birds. The captive birds are fed lean meat, grated carrots, boiled eggs and mixed feed. A group of birds were set free in 2007 in the hope of promoting natural migratory behavior.


Bald Ibis Birds in Turkey

Kelaynak Birds, Birecik, Sanliurfa


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