The Australian White Ibis or Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) is a valuable part of Australia's natural ecosystem.

This native bird plays an important role in pest management by preying upon small insects and grubs within grassland and wetland habitats. However, in urban areas, they are known to become overzealous in their foraging and scavenging habits. Ibis have now become a nuisance to residents and are having a negative impact on native plants and animals.

On the Gold Coast

Before 1979, white ibis were rarely sighted in Gold Coast urban areas. However, the availability of food scraps at tips, parks and public eating areas has resulted in the birds now relying on artificial food sources. This has not only substantially affected the health of the birds, but it has also had an adverse effect on the community at large.


  • pose a health risk to humans – the ibis are potential disease carriers (for example, salmonella)
  • harass locals and tourists for food
  • upturn public and commercial bins while scavenging in search of food
  • damage native vegetation
  • disrupt and displace other wildlife.

Ibis Management Coordination Group

The problem of the growing ibis population has seen local and State authorities work together to form the Ibis Management Coordination Group.

The group aims to restrict the source of artificial food supplies to the ibis, ultimately reducing numbers in urban areas to a sustainable level where birds and humans can peacefully coexist.

This is being achieved through:

  • modifying landfill management
  • installing covered ibis proof garbage bins throughout the Gold Coast
  • erecting signs in public eating areas discouraging people from feeding the ibis
  • implementing a bird management program for problem urban areas.

Advice on the management of ibis

Please contact our Vector and Biosecurity Services Unit on 1300 GOLD COAST (1300 465 326) or 07 5629 5629. You can also report an issue using our online form.