White Ibis

What is the White Ibis?

Image What is the White Ibis?
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white ibis 1

Did you know . . .

 

The white ibis is a long-necked wading bird common throughout Florida that is related to herons and storks.  It is easy to spot a white ibis because of its long, curved pink bill and legs, entirely white body with black tipped outer primary feathers, and bare face which ranges in shades from red to pink.  The eyes of adults are blue.

Habitat

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white ibis in flight

In the continental United States, the white ibis can be found from Virginia south along the Atlantic coast to the Gulf of Mexico.  It is found on both coasts of Mexico, and ranges as far south as Columbia and Brazil.  It may live as long as 16 years in the wild, and 20 years in captivity.

Characteristics

Image Characteristics
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White ibises walk at a rate of approximately 25 to 40 steps per minute.  They fly with rapid wing beats at the rate of 3.3 flaps per second.  Flying is alternated with gliding for 200 to 300 feet, sometimes as fast as 28 miles per hour.

 

White ibises feed primarily on crustaceans from both salt marsh and freshwater wetland habitats.  They probe around soft bottom areas with their long bills in search of prawns, crayfish and fiddler crabs.  It is also common to see small flocks of ibises in urban lawns and agricultural pastures, probing soft soil for grubs, worms, and other soil dwelling creatures.

 

White Ibis Trivia

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  • The white ibis wades in the water, sweeping its head from side to side in search of food.
  • It uses its long, curved bill to probe in the mud for crabs and crayfish.
  • The white ibis will fly up to 15 miles in a day to search for food.
  • The white ibis nests and feeds in large groups called colonies.
  • Colonies can include thousands of birds.
  • The eggs of the white ibis hatch in about 21 days.