Australian White Ibis Management Program—Sunshine Coast Council

Sunshine Coast Council invites tenders for the management of the Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) at their Caloundra and Nambour landfill sites, and other identified locations within the local government area (LGA).

About the Australian White Ibis

The Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) is a native Australian bird and is protected under state wildlife legislation (Nature Conservation Act 1992, Qld).

The species has several colloquial names, such as “tip turkey” and “bin chicken”, due to its increasing urban presence and its scavenging habits around rubbish areas. However, up until a few decades ago white ibis were rare in Brisbane or Sydney. Their home was the large inland waterways of NSW and Queensland such as the Macquarie Marshes. It is thought a severe drought in the late 1970s drove ibis towards the coast, seeking water for breeding.

Researchers are a bit worried about the management programs where breeding is disrupted.  “We don’t know exactly how long [the ibis live for], but one specimen caught in Victoria was 28 years old. We don’t know at what age they stop breeding,” says Ursula Munro a researcher. “We can go on destroying eggs and nests for years, and not see much of a difference in the adult population. If we take off the recruits [eggs] we don’t see an immediate effect of this management.”

Also the ibis don’t stay in our cities all year round. Once they’ve bred, up to two thirds of the population leave and fly north, even as far as Papua New Guinea. The young don’t return to the urban areas until they are at least two to three years old, so it makes it more difficult to figure out how many ibis there are, says Munro.

Munro also points out the plight of other overseas species of ibis. Many once common species are now either near to extinction or locally extinct. This includes the sacred ibis from Egypt, the giant ibis from Asia, and the Waldrapp ibis from Europe and North Africa.

Australian White Ibis Management Program at waste sites

The tenderer will be required to provide a coordinated range of Australian White Ibis management services including monitoring, data collection, collation, interpretation and reporting, combined with minimising the reproductive success of the species. The program shall include egg and nest removal and destruction.

Scope of work

  1. Review historical data and reports on previous ibis controls
  2. Prepare management plans including an activity-based management plan and WHS plan
  3. Undertake monthly counts of ibis at landfill tip faces and other sites
  4. Undertake monthly roost counts at agreed sites including overall population estimate
  5. Undertake regular egg and nest removal at ibis breeding sites throughout the breeding season (July to March)
  6. Undertake a foraging survey through the LGA incorporating urban parks, foreshores, wetlands, schools and commercial areas
  7. Undertake active dispersal of ibis at landfill sites which may include cannons, ibis distress calls, stock whip, car horn, siren, kites, balloons, arm wave, starter pistol and remote controlled airplanes and cars
  8. Undertake an annual census in October
  9. Prepare monthly reports that include schedule of activities; an overview of the results of activities; conclusions and recommendations, and progressive costs.
  10. Deliver an annual presentation of: methodology; results of all counts and surveys; interpretation of results, including impacts of activities; and recommendations to reduce Australian White Ibis at the landfill sites
  11. Represent Council at the Ibis Management Coordination Group (IMCG) by attending meetings; and providing council data for integration into SE Queensland dataset and IMCG report

About the contract

This is a schedule of rates contract commencing on the 19 April 2023, for a term of three (3) years with two one year extensions available.

Contact us

The tender closes on Tue, 28 Mar 2023 at 12:00PM Brisbane, Queensland. We have specialist skills in animal management with several zoologists on our writing team.