National Geographic : 1935 Jun
Photograph byCapt. C.W.R.Knight IBIS, SACRED BIRDS OF ANCIENT EGYPT, FLASH BRIGHT COLORS IN MASS FLIGHT OVER AN ISLAND OFF SOUTHWESTERN AFRICA A crimson patch of bare skin under the wings contrasts vividly with the black-tipped, white feathers and bare black head and neck. Legend states that when Ra, potent deity of early Egypt, left the earth, he endowed Thoth, god of wisdom and magic, with the power to send forthmessengers. These were ibis, and theheronlike bird became an object of reverence among members of the Osiris cult. Its followers established a cemetery, halfamile square, atAbydos, formummies ofthe gods' winged couriers.