Friday, July 13, 2012


People have a lot of fun with collective nouns for birds. I would prefer to say that this is a picture of a skein (skayn) of ibis. I suspect I would be howled down on two counts:
  1. When used as a collective noun the word skein seems most commonly applied to geese or ducks in flight.
  2. I suspect that the correct plural of ibis is ibises.
So this is a probably a picture of a flock of ibises. When they land they would become a colony.

Photographed from the car at 100kmh (yeeees .....passenger seat!) on the South Gippsland Hwy at Bass last Saturday evening. About 250 Straw-necked ibis(es) heading south west (in the direction of Phillip lsland I imagine). There may be a few white ibis thrown in.

But I still think skein of ibis sounds better!


  1. it can become a little 'political' I guess, deriving the correct terminology. I love your photograph though, the varying hues int he sky; a beautiful capture Pete

  2. I had to look up 'skein' in the dictionary and found this alternate definition: "A flock of wild geese or swans in flight, typically in a V-shaped formation". Since ibises usually fly in a V shape, I guess it's not too far an extrapolation to apply it to the ibis.

    I often see them flying over Westernport between the island and mornington peninsula, no idea where they are going or having come from.