Glossy Ibis

Glossy ibis Plegadis falcinellus

Breeding Glossy Ibises are striking water birds with their shiny, dark green/purplish face, reddish-bronze bodies, glossy green/purplish backs and wings, long,down-curved gray bills, and yellow-gray legs. Their facial skin or lores are also bordered by a thin band of white feathers. 

Non-breeding adults and juveniles are less colorful, less shiny, and more brown than red. Juveniles can also appear more green than brown and have a bluish tint to their bills. 

  • Plegadis falcinellus
  • Length: 23 in (58 cm)
  • Weight: 19 – 22 oz (538 – 623 g)
  • Wingspan: 36 in (91 cm)


Glossy Ibis have a vast range around the world in southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and now also in North and South America. Those along the Gulf Coast and southern Atlantic coast of the United States remain all year, but those further north and inland migrate after breeding.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Glossy Ibises on the edges of lakes, rivers, and shallow-water habitats. They may also be found in lagoons, flood-plains, wet meadows, swamps, reservoirs, and irrigated farmland. 

Glossy Ibises form small to large flocks when foraging. They probe with their large bill and come up with crayfish, frogs, fish, crabs, and aquatic beetles. When foraging inland, they will search for soil that is moist enough to probe for earthworms, snakes, lizards, and other amphibians. 

Glossy Ibis Call:


Nests of Glossy Ibises are usually found among colonies with other wading birds. Both parents build the large, bulky nest with the male collecting the materials, usually with what’s available near the site. Materials include reeds, sticks, and twigs. 

The female then constructs the nest on the ground concealed in reeds or more often in bushes or trees up to 12 feet above the ground. She then lays one to five eggs with an incubation period of twenty to twenty-two days. The young can leave the nest after seven days but the parents still feed them. 

Fun Fact:

The Glossy Ibis prefer to hunt on the falling tide because prey usually come up to the surface on their own so it’s easy to pick them off.