IBICUI', or lificuv, an important affluent of the liraguay (q.v.).
IMO, a genus of birds of the family ardeidee, or, according to some ornithologists, of scolopacidte, and perhaps to be regarded as a connecting link between them. The bill is long, slender, curved, thick at the base, the point rather obtuse. the upper mandible deeply grooved throughout its length. The face, and generally the greater part of the head, and sometimes even the neck, are destitute of feathers, at least in adult birds. The neck is long. The legs are rather long, naked above the tarsal joint, with three partially united toes in front, and one behind; the wings are moderately long; the tail is very abort. The SACRED HITS, or EGYPTIAN IBIS (I. religiosa), is an African bird, 2 ft. 6 in. in length, although the body is little larger than that of a common fowl. The GLOSSY Ims (/. fa/eine/ha) is a smaller species, also African. but migrating northwards into continental Europe, and occasionally seen in Britain. It is also a North American bird. Its habits resemble those'of the sacred ibis. Its color is black, varied with red dish-brown, and exhibiting fine purple and green reflections. It has no loose pendent feathers.—The WHITE IBIS (T. alba), a species with pure white plumage, abounds on the coasts of Florida. Audubon saw multitudes on a low islet, and counted 47 nests on a single tree.—The SCARLET IBIS (I. ruber) is a tropical American species, remarkable for its brilliant plumage, which is scarlet, with a few patches of glossy black.—The Srit.v• NECKED Iuts (I or geronticus spinieollis) is a large Australian bird of flue plumage, remarkable for stiff naked yellow fcather-shafts on the neck and throat.
The SACRED IBIS, one of the birds worshiped by the ancient Egyptians, and called by them lalb or hib, and by the/modern Egyptians abu-Hannes (i.e., father John), is a bird with long beak and legs, and a heart-shaped body, covered with black and white plumage. It was supposed, from the color of its feathers, to symbolize the light and shade of the moon, its body to represent the heart; its legs described a triangle, and with its beak it performed a medical operation; from all which esoterical ideas it was the avatar of the god Thoth or Hermes (see HERMES), who escaped in that shape the pursuit of Typhon, as the hawk was that of Ra, or Horns, the sun. Its feathers were
supposed to scare, and even kill the crocodile. It appeared in Egypt at the rise, and disappeared at the inundation of the Nile, and was thought, at that time, to deliver Egypt from the winged and other serpents which came from Arabia in certain narrow passes. As it did not make its nest in Egypt it was thought to be self-engendering, and to lay eggs for a lunar month. According to some the basilisk was engendered self-engendering, it. It was celebrated for its purity, and only drank from the purest water, and the most strict of the priesthood only drank of the pools where it had been seen; besides which, it was fabled to entertain the most invincible love of Egypt, and to die of self-starvation if transported elsewhere. Its flesh was thought to be incorruptible after death, and to kill it was punishable with death. Ibises were kept in the temples, and unmolested in the neighborhood of cities, After death they were mummied, and there is no animal of which so many remains have been found at Thebes, Memphis, Hermopolis Magna, or Eshmun, and at Ibitt or Ibeum, 14 m. u. of the latter place. They are made up into a conical shape, the wings flat, the legs bent back to the breast, the head placed on the left side, and the beak under the tail. They were prepared as other mummies, and wrapped up in linen bandages, which are sometimes plaited in patterns externally. At Thebes they are found in linen bandages only: at Hermopolis well preserved in wooden or stone boxes of oblong form, sometimes in form of the bird itself, or the god Thoth; at Memphis in conical sugar-loaf-shaped red earthen-ware jars, the tail downwards, the cover of convex form, cemented by lime. There appear to be two sorts of embalmed ibiscsa smaller one of the size of a corncrake, very black, and the other black and white—the ibis numenius, or ibis religiosa. This last is usually found with its eggs, and with its insect food, the pitmelia alcis reftexa, and portions of snakes, in the stomach. It is said to resemble the ibis of India rather than that of Africa. By the Jews it was held to be an unclean bird.—Wilkinson, ffanners and Customs, v. 7, 217; Passolocgua, Catalogue Raisonne, p. 255; Pettigrew, History of ritumnties, p. 20J; Ilor'e pollo, i. 30, 36.