Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Glossy Ibis

A lone Ibis along Diamond Lane near Hwy 205 (in Harney County, at Malheur NWR). On closer look, I noticed the face was dark, so I scoped it and saw that the eye was also dark, not red like on the much more commonly seen White-faced Ibis.

Digiscoped photo of Glossy Ibis. The thin, light bluish-gray lines bordering the face do not continue all the way around the back of the eyes; the face is dark brownish-gray; and the legs are gray with contrasting pink ankle joints (midway between foot and body). These are all field marks that distinguish Glossy Ibis from White-faced Ibis.

Luckily there was cell phone coverage to get the word out to other birders.

More photos of Glossy Ibis:

Dark Ibis Identification
Identification of the two dark ibises (genus Plegadis) can range from easy to impossible, depending on their plumage stage. ... In adult breeding (alternate) plumage (roughly March to August, per The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd ed.), identification is straightforward:
(a) White-faced Ibis has pinkish-red to burgundy facial skin, with a striking rim of white feathers that surrounds the facial-skin patch and extends behind the eye. The eye and the legs are red.
(b) Glossy Ibis has dark gray facial skin, with thin pale-blue or gray-blue margins that are also skin and do not extend behind the eye. This bluish skin assumes a distinctive shape, as shown in field guides: the upper margin is a bit thicker, especially in the middle, while the lower one is thinner and follows the edge of the dark skin closely. The eye is dark brown, and the legs are gray-green with reddish joints.

Sibley's comparison of Glossy Ibis (top) and White-faced Ibis (bottom). Glossy Ibis are found year-round along the gulf coast of the US, and along the east coast in the summer, and they make rare appearances inland in the eastern US. In Oregon, there are only 8 previous records of Glossy Ibis.

White-faced Ibis:

Here is a White-faced Ibis (above) for comparison. Many flocks of hundreds of White-faced Ibis are commonly seen around Malheur in the spring and summer, plus they make rare appearances in the rest of Oregon.

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