Friday, July 17, 2015

White-faced vs. Glossy Ibis

I mistakenly thought that the ranges of Glossy and White-faced ibis overlap just in southern Louisiana, with the Glossy found east and the White-faced breeding west. In fact, the Glossy Ibis nests west well into the Texas Gulf Coast. White-faced Ibis are expected from Alabama on west, thus producing a relatively wide area of overlap. In this area, however, the two species do not interbreed, even were they occur in mixed colonies.

Erika and I saw both species in the same flock in the Florida Panhandle, at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.  One of the great advantages of birding with the eBird mobile app is that it alerts you when you try to report rare birds to eBird. In the field, this means I have the opportunity to know when take photos of the birds that I might not know are unexpected in an unfamiliar region. My cell phone alerted me that White-faced Ibis were unlikely in Florida.

The bird in the top photo is clearly a White-faced Ibis.  Note the red facial skin and, if you enlarge the photo, red eye. The bottom bird is a Glossy Ibis.  Note the blue facial feathers and dark eye. Thus, I was able to submit the photograph of the White-faced Ibis when I submitted my list to eBird.

5 comments:

  1. The WFIB remains one of my nemesis birds, Dan. I may have seen it somewhere while not knowing what I was looking at. When I am at St. Marks NWR again, I will be sure to be on the lookout for them.

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    1. A trip to South Texas should do the trick :-)

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    2. Hopefully sooner than later.

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  2. So the one with the face ringed in white is the one that's not a White-faced Ibis?

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    1. The bottom photo is a Glossy Ibis with a blue face. Here is a photo of a White-faced Ibis in breeding plumage: http://dantallmansbirdblog.blogspot.com/2012/11/white-faced-vs-glossy-ibis.html

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