The White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) is a striking bird found in the wetlands and marshes of the southeastern United States, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. This elegant bird measures approximately 23-27 inches (58-69 cm) in length and has a wingspan of 36-41 inches (91-104 cm). The adult White Ibis weighs around 1.5-2.5 pounds (0.68-1.13 kg) and has a long, curved, red bill that is used for probing in the mud.
The White Ibis is easy to spot in the field due to its striking white plumage with contrasting black wingtips. However, the juvenile White Ibis has a brown and white speckled plumage, and it takes two to three years for them to acquire their adult plumage. During breeding season, the bare skin around the eyes of the White Ibis turns red, and the bird’s legs and feet are also red.
The White Ibis is a migratory bird that moves south in the winter, and some populations also breed in South America. During the breeding season, the White Ibis can be found in shallow wetlands, flooded fields, and swamps. In the non-breeding season, they can be found in mangrove swamps, tidal creeks, and salt marshes. They are also known to roost in trees near their feeding areas.
The White Ibis is a social bird that feeds in flocks, often with other wading birds such as egrets and herons. They use their long bill to probe in the mud for small aquatic animals, such as crustaceans, insects, and small fish. The White Ibis is known to follow plows in search of insects and other small animals stirred up by farming activities.
Despite being a common bird in some areas, the White Ibis population has declined in some regions due to habitat destruction and degradation. However, conservation efforts such as wetland restoration have helped in the recovery of this beautiful bird. Overall, the White Ibis is an iconic and fascinating bird species that is beloved by birders and non-birders alike.