Tuesday, February 5, 2013

American White Ibis

The American white ibis 

has white plumage with black wingtips usually only visible in flight, but barely visible in the picture below (near the tail). 
American white ibis
It has distinctive pink facial skin, pink legs and a long downcurved bill that is pink to red-orange. 
They are most common in Florida, which is where we saw these, in Everglades National Park, but they are also found in the Caribbean, on both coasts of Mexico and Central America south to Colombia and Venezuela. 
They will wander inland as far north as Virginia and as far west as eastern Texas. The ibis forages for food by probing with its bill, sight unseen, for prey. 
American white ibis probing for prey.
They prefer to eat crayfish, at least in the Everglades, but also eat insects and small fish. They are found in the same habitat as the wood stork, but the wood stork eats larger prey and eats a larger percentage of fish.

Updated: February 2014

I had an opportunity to travel to Florida again and got some fun pictures of the white ibis on Sanibel Island. Early in the morning they were out in the shallow water probing the mud with their bills.
A while later, a solitary ibis came on shore and got quite close to me. They are funly odd birds.

Later in the morning, with better light, I found them in an area where their reflections added to their odd sight.

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