White-Faced Ibis

Scientific Name:

Plegadis chihi

Type:

Bird

Habitat:

Freshwater marshes, irrigated fields, and flooded pastures

Range:

Throughout much of North America

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

From far away you might think you see a flock of tall dark birds in a field, but upon a closer inspection you will notice a stunning bird with iridescent marron, green and metallic plumage, long reddish pink legs and a thin white border accentuating his face; this is the white-faced ibis. White-faced ibises can be up to 22 inches tall, weigh just over one pound and have a wingspan of about three feet. They have a long, strong, slender bill that they plunge into the marsh and mud to search for food. Their diet consists of earthworms, crayfish, spiders, snails, grasshoppers and other bugs. While the white-faced ibis may look similar to the glossy ibis, the white-faced ibis does not eat rice and other plant seeds or crops; another difference between the two is geographic range, with white-faced ibises are found west of the Mississippi river, and lastly the glossy ibis does not have the white border around it’s bill and eye.

Fast Facts:

  • Male and female white-faced ibis build their nest together, they also take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the young.

  • Sacramento and Central Valley California sushi rice fields are flooded in the winter which provides habitat for nearly 60% of migrating pacific flyway waterfowl, such as the white-faced Ibis. Prior to the implementation of winter flooding, most natural wetlands had been developed leaving little habitat for waterfowl; White-Faced Ibis numbers dropped below 200 individuals (1977); whereas the 2013-14 winter count of White-Faced Ibises was at 8500 individuals.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Regina Hockett (research & content)

Caroline Stillitano (edits & page design)


Last Updated:

August 8, 2022, 11:01:01 PM