Glossy Ibis

Hey guys, welcome back. Today is our first ibis species. An ibis is a kind of wading bird, similar to a heron or egret. They are somewhat large birds, their bodies roughly the size of a black-crowned night heron, but standing much taller. They have long downcurved bills and unlike herons don’t typically feed on fish. Rather, they eat a variety of food from snakes and salamanders to crustaceans to worms and leeches.

From a distance, they appear to be dark colored birds, but in good light you can see they are a variety of colors including bronze, metallic green, and even purples. They look very similar to the closely related white-faced ibis. The two can be differentiated by the color of skin between their eyes and the base of their bills. Glossy ibises are typically only found along the east and gulf coasts and throughout the Caribbean. They can also be found throughout Afroeurasia. Although one showed up here in northern Ohio last spring, I was unable to find it. But in NYC, particularly at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens they are common visitors during the summer. They are colonial nesters and often nest near species of egret and heron. Hopefully one day, I’ll get a closer look at one, as I’ve only seen them from afar. Next up, another wading bird; the little blue heron. See you all then!

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