White Ibis

Eudocimus albus
WhiteIbis-Millsx520

The American white ibis is a species of bird in the ibis family, Threskiornithidae. It is found from the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast of the United States south through most of the coastal New World tropics. This particular ibis is a medium-sized bird with an overall white plumage, bright red-orange down-curved bill and long legs, and black wing tips that are usually only visible in flight. Males are larger and have longer bills than females. The breeding range runs along the Gulf and Atlantic Coast, and the coasts of Mexico and Central America. Outside the breeding period, the range extends further inland in North America and also includes the Caribbean.

Their diet consists primarily of small aquatic prey, such as insects and small fishes. Crayfish are its preferred food in most regions, but it can adjust its diet according to the habitat and prey abundance. It is a tactile, non-visual forager, whose main foraging behavior is probing with its beak at the bottom of shallow water to feel form, and to capture its prey.

During the breeding season, the American white ibis gathers in huge colonies near water. Pairs are predominantly monogamous and both parents care for the young, although males tend to engage in extra-pair copulation with other females to increase their reproductive success. Males have also been found to pirate food from unmated females and juveniles during the breeding season.

The main call of the American white ibis is a honking sound, transcribed as urnk, urnk, or hunk, hunk. The call is used in flight, courtship or when disturbed. Birds also utter a muted huu-huu-huu call while foraging, and make a squealing call in courtship.

Facts About White Ibis

  • Weight: 2.3 lbs male 1.7 lbs female
  • Males have longer bills than female
  • Symbol for danger and optimism in Native American lore.