White-faced IbisPlegadis chihi

adult, breeding
Arthur Morris/VIREO
immature (1st winter)
Greg Lasley/VIREO
juvenile
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult, nonbreeding
Arthur Morris/VIREO
adult, breeding
Greg Lasley/VIREO
White-faced Ibis
White-faced Ibis

Description

22-25" (56-64 cm). W. 3'1" (94 cm). A large, chestnut-bronze marsh bird with a long, down-curved bill. Very similar to the Glossy Ibis of the East, but with band of white feathers around bare face, and red eyes and legs. Glossy Ibis has narrow band of white skin around edge of bare face, brown eyes, and gray legs. In winter, White-faced Ibis has streaks on head and neck, and brown eyes; it is then virtually impossible to distinguish the two species.

Voice

Low croaks and grunts.

Listen

nasal quacks #1
nasal quacks #2

Habitat

Salt and fresh marshes in the West, and coastal marshes and brushy islands in Louisiana and Texas.

Range

Breeds from Oregon sporadically east to Minnesota and south to southeastern New Mexico and Texas, and east to coastal Louisiana. Winters from southern California and Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana to El Salvador.

Discussion

This bird probably represents an earlier invasion of the New World by the Glossy Ibis, which in isolation evolved into a separate species. The only ibis in the West, the White-faced overlaps with other ibises only in coastal Texas and Louisiana, where most dark ibises can be assumed to be White-faced. Formerly much depleted because of pesticides, this marsh bird is now making a modest comeback in much of its range. Its diet is diverse, consisting of insects, salamanders, crustaceans, and small fish and shellfish.

Nesting

3 or 4 pale blue-green eggs in a shallow cup of reeds lined with grass in low bushes in a marsh.

Similar Species

adult, breeding

Glossy Ibis

22-25" (56-64 cm). W. 3'1" (94 cm). A large, all-dark marsh bird with a down-curved bill. Plumage rich chestnut in breeding season; wings glossy greenish; eyes brown.

Vireo

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