IBIS, a family of wading-birds (Ibidide) inhabiting warm regions. They are related to the storks on the one hand and to the spoonbills and flamingoes on the other. Their bills are long, weak, curved and the nasal grooves are very long. The legs are long, the tibia partly naked and the toes long with small webs. In size they are like herons, rather less than storks; and in color present a great and beau tiful variety of tints, often with a metallic sheen; the sexes are similar. Ibises are shy birds, which inhabit not only watery and wooded country, but dry plains and rocky gorges. They are capable of a powerful and elevated flight, extending their neck and legs and uttering a hoarse croak. They ordinarily wade for their food, poking in the mud with the long bill for aquatic insects, worms and small shellfish; they also catch fish, and on land eat insects, especially locusts, frogs, newts and crustaceans. Some species breed in com munities, like herons, others apart, but the nest is always a rude cradle of sticks on a tree or ledge of rocks and occasionally on marshy ground, and the eggs are usually green, with or without markings. There are 12 or 15 genera and a large number of species scattered throughout the whole tropical zone. The typi cal genus, Ibis, contains the sacred ibis (I. alhiopica), called by the natives of Upper Egypt abu Hanues, or (Father which arrives in Egypt about the time that the inundation of the Nile commences, its numbers increasing or diminishing with the increase or diminution of the waters; and it migrates southward about the end of June. This species is about the size of a fowl; the head and neck are bare; the body white; the wing tipped with shining, ashy black, among which the white forms oblique notches; the secondaries and scapulars, which in summer curve gracefully over the hinder parts, are bright black. This was one of the
birds adored by the ancient Egyptians, and of which numerous mummies are found. The Greek and Roman writers give many fabulous stories relating to ibis, which Savigny has gathered in
Wood-ibises and shell-ibises are names for birds of other groups, elsewhere described. Consult Taylor,
IBN ib'n al }tete, Arabian historian and statesman: b. Kift, Upper Egypt, 1172; d. 1248. He greatly encouraged litera ture, education, art and national progress. See KIFTI, IBN AL-.