The Northern Bald Ibis, Hermit Ibis, or WaldrappIbisGeronticus eremita, is a migratory bird found in barren, semi-desert or rocky habitats, often close to running water. This 28–31 in glossy black ibis, which, unlike other members of the ibis family, is non-wading, has an unfeathered red face and head, and a long, curved red bill. It breeds colonially on coastal or mountain cliff ledges, where it typically lays 2–3 eggs in a stick nest, and feeds on lizards, insects, and other small animals.
The Northern Bald Ibis was once widespread across the Middle East, northern Africa, southern and central Europe, with a fossil record dating back at least 1.8 million years. It disappeared from Europe over 300 years ago, and is now considered critically endangered. There are believed to be about 500 wild birds remaining in southern Morocco, and fewer than 10 in Syria, where it was rediscovered in 2002. To combat this ebb in numbers, recent reintroduction programs have been instituted internationally, with a semi-wild breeding colony in Turkey, as well as sites in Austria, Spain, and northern Morocco.
The reasons for the species' long-term decline are unclear, but hunting, loss of foraging habitat, and pesticide poisoning have been implicated in the rapid loss of colonies in recent decades.