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White-faced Ibis
Plegadis chihi
Order
CICONIIFORMES
– Family
THRESKIORNITHIDAE
Authors: Ryder, Ronald A., and David E. Manry

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Introduction

Adult White-faced Ibis, nonbreeding plumage, November
Adult White-faced Ibis, Utah, April
Figure 1. Distribution of the White-faced Ibis.

The White-faced Ibis is an attractive, long-legged wader with a long, decurved bill and metallic bronze plumage. In the breeding season, adults have distinctive white feathers along the edge of their bare facial skin. The species is locally common, nesting in several marshes in the western United States, especially in the Great Basin, and wintering in large flocks in Mexico, western Louisiana, and eastern Texas.

The species inhabits primarily freshwater wetlands, especially cattail (Typha spp.) and bulrush (Scirpus spp.) marshes, although it feeds in flooded hay meadows, agricultural fields, and estuarine wetlands.

No subspecies of this ibis are recognized, although the more cosmopolitan Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is considered by some to be conspecific, and the two species have produced hybrids in captivity. In Louisiana, Alabama, and possibly eastern Texas, however, the two forms nest in the same colonies, apparently without interbreeding.