American White Ibis
Scientific Name: Eudocimus albus
The American white ibis is a very sociable bird; it feeds, nests, and roosts in huge flocks of up to 80,000 individuals.
Ibises are long-legged wading birds and are closely related to spoonbills, flamingos and pelicans.
STATUS: The American white ibis is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Once over-hunted, this ibis species is currently protected. The main threats today to the American white ibis are loss of habitat and human disturbance; nesting birds are particularly sensitive to intrusion by humans, and eggs and chicks may be left alone and left vulnerable to predators.
HABITAT: The American white ibis lives in marshes, mangrove lagoons, lakes, and estuaries. In the United States, it ranges from the coastal areas of the Carolinas, south to Florida, and as far east as Texas. It also is found in the Caribbean, on both coasts of Mexico and Central America, and as far south as Colombia and Venezuela.
DIET: It uses its sensitive bill to probe in the mud for its prey items which include crustaceans, fish, frogs, small snakes, slugs, snails, and aquatic insects.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The American white ibis stands about two feet tall. Its body measures 21½ to 27½ inches in length, and its wingspan reaches 38 inches. Adults are snow white with black wingtips; their featherless faces, legs and long, tapering, down-curved bill are pink, turning red in the early breeding season. Their eyes are light blue.
Now Hear This!
The call of the male is described as a harsh, nasal “urnk, urnk” or “hunk-hunk-hunk-hunk.” The female squeals. The American white ibis is a “colonial nester,” breeding in large, closely-packed colonies that may include other wading birds. The male and female form a monogamous pair and work together to build a loose platform nest of sticks in bushes or trees that are three to 15 feet away from the water.