Sacred Ibis

Sacred Ibis


hand-colored lithograph
By J.G. Keulemans, engraved by J.G. Keulemans.

text from the plate


Scared Ibis


J.G. Keulemans del et lith.

Mintern Bros. imp


"The Sacred Ibis inhabits the greater part of Africa as far south as the Cape of Good Hope. ...In general habits the Sacred This is said to resemble the Curlew to some extent. It is usually met with in small companies, sometimes as many as fifty or sixty, and they feed in swamps or on the sea-coasts, probing the mud with their long bills for worms, like the Curlew, in company with which species, as also with Egrets and Herons, they are often seen ..... The ancient Egyptians held this bird in high veneration, owing, it is said by the older authors, to its habit of destroying snakes; but this is not the reason assigned by modern Egyptologists. Vast numbers are found embalmed, at Sakkara especially; but there is much reason to believe that, though the species may in ancient times 'have been more plentiful than now in Egypt, the majority of the mummies are those of birds brought from the Upper Nile and kept tame in the temples."