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White-Faced Ibis

Scientific Name:

Plegadis chihi




Freshwater marshes, irrigated fields, and flooded pastures


Throughout much of North America


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


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.



Regina Hockett (research & content)

Caroline Stillitano (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:22 AM

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