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The African sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) once lived in Egypt and is depicted in many ancient Egyptian wall murals and sculptures. It is also found as mummified specimens at many burial sites and played a significant religious role, in particular during the Late and Ptolemaic periods. The ibis represented the god Thoth, god of wisdom, knowledge and writing, and was considered the herald of the flood. It is now extinct throughout Egypt Its sister species is the Australian white ibis. It breeds in sub-Saharan Africa, and south-eastern Iraq. The bald head and neck, thick curved bill and legs are black. The white wings show a black rear border in flight. Sexes are similar, but juveniles have dirty white plumage, a smaller bill and some feathering on the neck. It is also known to visit pastures, ploughed land and rubbish dumps. The sacred ibis is generally a silent bird, however, it may sometimes produce grunting or croaking noises while in flight or at breeding grounds.
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