- ORDER: Pelecaniformes
- FAMILY: Threskiornithidae
The handsome White-faced Ibis shimmers with purple, green, and bronze plumage. Breeding adults add to this a ruby-red eye surrounded by a sharp white mask, and pink legs. Flocks of this long-legged bird forage in marshes across large parts of the American West, where wetlands are very scarce and often ephemeral. They probe their long, curving bills into moist soil, searching for earthworms and other invertebrates, typically at the edges of marshes or in wet farm fields.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Look for White-faced Ibises in marshes or wet agricultural fields (especially alfalfa fields). In the arid western U.S., they often fly long distances to foraging areas from roosting areas, so the early morning and late afternoon are fine times to watch for them in transit. Checking wetland and field edges often produces a foraging flock; a spotting scope is useful to see fine details, such as all of the beautiful metallic tones of breeding-adult plumage.
- Morito Cariblanco (Spanish)
- Ibis à face blanche (French)
- Cool Facts
- Many species of birds place found objects in their nests (bowerbirds take this odd behavior to the extreme). White-faced Ibises sometimes incorporate human-made objects they've found, including cigarette lighters, empty shotgun shells, plastic dolls, and hair combs.
- White-faced and Glossy Ibises are similar species: both dark purple-metallic and both members of the genus Plegadis. Both species have expanded their breeding ranges in North America over recent decades. This has led to Glossy Ibis turning up in White-faced Ibis colonies, and vice-versa, and to many instances of hybridization, making it even more complicated to tell the two species apart definitively.
- White-faced Ibises occur only in the Americas, but Glossy Ibises occur on the East Coast as well as across Eurasia, Africa, and Australia. It's thought that White-faced Ibis evolved following an early colonization of the Americas by the Glossy Ibis.
- The oldest recorded White-faced Ibis was banded in Oregon and was at least 12 years, 3 months old when it was found sick in California. It recovered and was released.