Birds of Seabrook Island

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  White Ibis
 
 

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  Order Ciconiiformes (Pelecaniformes) - Wading Birds
   Family Threskiornithidae - Ibises and Spoonbills
      Subfamily Threskiornithinae - Ibises
  Wading Birds are medium to large, long-legged and long necked. Their bills are long, straight, and sharp. Most species are dependent on water for feeding. Most nest in colonies - a few are solitary. Young remain in the nest after hatching and are cared for by both parents.
   The Tree of Life places herons and bitterns in the Pelecaniformes.
Ibises are medium to large waders with relatively long necks and legs. Ibises (and cranes and storks) fly with their neck and legs extended, unlike herons who fold their neck in an "S" shape. They tend to fly in lines, sometimes forming groups of 30-40 individuals. Ibises forage in groups walking slowly with their heads down, probing in mud with their long decurved bills.
    Most are sociable, feeding in flocks and nesting in colonies.  
     
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  White Ibis, Eudocimus albus
 

Cornell     USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoL

        YEAR ROUND - Common (fewer in winter) / Common
            MARSHES, LAGOONS, LAKE MARGINS, WET FIELDS
MORE PICTURES
 
   Historically White Ibises are one of the most abundant wading birds in North America. They are found in virtually all wetland types and often forage in grassy fields or along roads.
   Young White Ibises are dark with a white under-wing, belly, and rump. Juveniles have a dark bill. As they mature, the bill and legs become orange and white plumage appears. In the breeding adult, the bill and legs are bright red. Adults are all white except for black wingtips. Ibises fly with the neck extended in front and the legs trailing to the rear.
White Ibis
     
White Ibis. Merritt Island NWR, FL
Photo by Ed Konrad
   
  RANGE: Ibises breed along the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts and both coasts of Mexico. The species may be found south to Peru. Large roosts in summer may harbor up to 80,000 birds.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood? First breed at 2 years of age.
   Ibises build a loose platform of sticks, twigs, and leaves - sometimes cordgrass - and add to it continuously. The male brings materials (often stolen from adjacent nests) and the female builds. They nest colonially, some colonies contain thousands of nests. They nest near water. They lay 2-3 (up to 5) eggs which are incubated for 21-23 days by both parents. Development is semialtricial. Both parents feed the young by regurgitation. Young may climb around near the nest after 3 weeks and can make short flights by 4-5 weeks. They can make sustained flights after 6 weeks and may leave the colony to forage with adults after 7 weeks.
   Fish Crows are major nest predators.
  DIET: Ibises feed on crustaceans (crayfish, crabs) in freshwater marshes or on insects in fields. They also eat snails and snakes or other small vertebrates. Young are fed by regurgitation.
  VOICE: A harsh, nasal "urnk urnk urnk" - lower than other ibises.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook. Kiawah - uncommon spring and summer, common fall and winter. Edisto - resident.
      Coastal - fairly common permanent resident. Hilton Head - common permanent resident.
         Cape Romain
- common/common (breeds)/common/occasional. Huntington Beach - common year-round
      Caw Caw - common year-round. ACE - common/common (breeds)/common/uncommon
   CBC; ACE 2771, 3466, 3985, 626, 407, 693, 3226, 2004; Charleston 437, 523, 394, 103, 194, 67, 341, 139;
            St. Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 265, 211; Hilton Head 853, 525, 745, 985, 729, 775, 1216, 843;
               Sun City/Okatie 74, 151, 140, 123, 113, 123, 244, 177;
            McClellanville 1376, 153, 994, 459, nc, 4415, 1720, 8601; Winyah Bay x, x, 158, 337, 483, 1231, 645, 1053;
               Litchfield/Pawley's 134, 351, 224, 1, 87, 192, 95, 182.
   P&G: Locally abundant breeder, fairly common winter visitor. Maximum 13,763 nests, Drum Island, May 1984; 20,000 pairs, Pumpkinseed Island, Georgetown County, May 1987. About 80% of population is concentrated in 1-2 colonies in Charleston and Georgetown Counties. Numbers fluctuate between years according to drought cycles.
   Avendex: 11 records. Most concentrated in winter (December-May). See P&G above.
   Potter: First discovered nesting in 1922 at Fairlawn Plantation, this is now an abundant breeding bird all along the Carolina coast. Locally common to abundant in summer, fairly common in winter.
  ●   Common. On Seabrook, White Ibises feed in the marshes between Creekwatch and Duneloft, north of Capn' Sam's Road. They feed in the pastures of the Equestrian Center and around Palmetto Lake. They are also regular in the Jenkins Point marshes. On the beach, it is likely that the only ibises seen will be in flight - they fly along the coast in flocks of 20-40 birds, often in the late afternoon when they are heading for roosting areas somewhere in the ACE Basin.
   I have the impression that White Ibises are much more common on the island than they were just several years ago. They have been ubiquitous in 06-07. They do not breed on Seabrook and seem to be on the island in fewer numbers in the winter.
       
    Banner - White Ibis. Duneloft-Deer Point marshes.
       
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