White-faced Ibis

Plegadis chihi




Ibises and Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Colonial

Egg Color:

Pale blue green to dark turquoise.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 5

Incubation Days:

17 - 26

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In thick marsh growth, or short trees.

Nest Material:

Bulrushes or other plant stems with depression in center.





White-faced Ibis: Medium-sized wading bird, iridescent bronze-brown overall with thin band of white feathers around bare red face. Some birds have more extensive white around the pinkish red facial skin. They have a long down curved bill. Eyes and legs are red. Sexes are similar. Winter adult is similar but duller and lacks white on face; head and neck are less heavily streaked with white. Juvenile's head and neck are heavily streaked with white; underparts dull brown, faintly tinged purple.

Range and Habitat

White-faced Ibis: Breeds from Oregon sporadically east to Minnesota and south to southeastern New Mexico and Texas, and east to coastal Louisiana. Spends winters from southern California and the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana to El Salvador. Preferred habitats include salt and fresh marshes in the west, and coastal marshes and brushy islands in Louisiana and Texas.

Breeding and Nesting

White-faced Ibis: Two to five pale blue green to dark turquoise eggs are laid in a shallow cup of reeds lined with grass and built in a low marsh bush. Incubation ranges from 17 to 26 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

White-faced Ibis: Their diet includes crayfish and other invertebrates and frogs and fish. Coastal birds forage in salt marshes and include crabs in their diet. Their legs and neck are long, and they have a long decurved bill which facilitates foraging in shallow water or probing mud. They frequent shallowly flooded pond margins, reservoirs and marshes. They feed in large flocks of up to 1,000.


White-faced Ibis: While feeding, emits a multi-syllable "oink." Also makes a low-pitched "graa-graa-graa."

Similar Species

White-faced Ibis: Glossy Ibis has blue-gray lores and dark legs.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X