Northern Bald Ibises

Discover Turkey and migratory kelaynak birds

Turkish Northern Bald Ibis

Known as kelaynak in Turkish, the northern bald ibis (hermit ibis) is a migratory bird found in barren, semi desert or rocky habitats, often close to running water. This bird species is almost being extinct in the world.

Northern Bald Ibis

Living in semi desert or rocky habitats, the northern bald ibis (kelaynak) is a large black bird with its featherless head and neck, long curved red beak. The rest of their body is covered with dark purple feathers.

The northern bald ibises are endangered species and recently draw attention worldwide. For this, scientific researches and projects about these birds are important to perevent generation, reproduce and promotion. The colony of the northern bald ibis lives only in Birecik district of Sanliurfa province, on the Euphrates in southeastern part of Turkey.

According to a legend, the northern bald ibis is one of the first birds released from the Noah's Ark, symbolize fertility.

Life of the Bald Ibis

The northern bald ibis lives 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. These birds reach maturity when around five years old, and average life span is about 25-30 years.

Migration to Birecik

Birecik and its surroundings are the habitats of critically endangered northern bald ibis. After its annual migration around Valentine's Day, the monogamous bald ibis returns to Birecik in February and begins to nest around the middle of May. They leave Birecik in July after breeding their young.

Bald Ibis Reproduction Center

A breeding station was established in 1977 in Birecik district of Sanliurfa province in Turkey by the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks to protect the endangered birds.

The Bald Ibis Reproduction Center aims to allow these critically endangered species of bird to survive and reproduce. The center feeds them a special diet including meat, eggs, grated carrots, chicken feed and unsalted cheese. The birds are followed daily by teams. During the reproduction period of February and March, a group of bald ibises are released to the nature to promote natural migratory behavior and to allow them to reproduce.

Turkish Northern Bald Ibis
Kelaynak Birds, Birecik, Sanliurfa