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White-faced Ibis - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Brian Hubbs
Mendota, California, 7 April 2018
Plegadis chihi


46–66 cm (18-26 in)

  • Deep chestnut head, neck, back and belly (can appear black)
  • Pink face bordered with white
  • Long, down-curved, grey bill
  • Red legs

Adults have red eyes,
The species name is misleading - the white on the face is limited to breeding birds (March-August), and is only a thin line around the eyes and bill.


Photo by geomorph
near Brigham City, Utah, USA, 24 August 2004

Western USA south through Mexico, southeastern Brazil and southeastern Bolivia south to central Argentina, and along the coast of central Chile. Its winter range extends from southern California and Louisiana.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Mainly freshwater wetland areas; marshes, swamps, ponds, rice fields, rivers and fields under irrigation.


Photo © by Stanley Jones
Ceibas, Entre Rios Province, Argentina, October 2019


The diet consists mostly of insects, particularly larvae of horseflies and dragonflies, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets; also crayfish, crabs newts, leeches, earthworms, snails, frogs and fish.


They roost on low platforms of dead reed stems or on mud banks.

They are colonial nesters. The nest is a deep cup made of dead reeds, lined with grasses, placed among beds of bulrushes, on floating mats of dead plants. The clutch contains 3-4 greenish-blue eggs which are incubated by both parents for approximately 21 to 22 days. Both parents care for the young.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Matheu, E., del Hoyo, J., Garcia, E.F.J., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52776 on 5 March 2020)

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