The Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is a medium-sized wading bird belonging to the family Threskiornithidae. Adults have a length of approximately 22-27 inches and a wingspan of 38-41 inches, making them similar in size to a medium-sized heron. Glossy Ibises weigh about 1.5-2 pounds, making them relatively light for their size.
The Glossy Ibis is named after its iridescent, shiny plumage, which appears almost black from a distance but shimmers with purples, greens, and bronzes when viewed up close. The birds have a long, slender bill that curves slightly downward, with a reddish-brown hue toward the base and a dark tip. The legs and feet are also reddish-brown.
Glossy Ibises are found across much of the world, including North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. In North America, Glossy Ibises breed along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida and along the Gulf Coast, with some breeding populations in the western United States as well. During the winter months, many Glossy Ibises migrate south to Central and South America, with some birds remaining in Florida year-round.
During breeding season, Glossy Ibises can be found in wetlands, marshes, and other shallow-water habitats. They build nests in trees or shrubs above the water, using sticks and twigs to construct a platform on which to lay their eggs. The birds feed on a variety of aquatic invertebrates and small fish, probing the water with their long bill and using a sweeping motion to catch prey.
Despite their wide distribution and relative abundance, Glossy Ibises face a number of threats, including habitat loss and degradation, water pollution, and hunting. Conservation efforts have focused on protecting and restoring wetland habitats, as well as monitoring and reducing contaminants in the water.