Birds of the World

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ANECDOTES

  Ibises
 
 
 

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Ciconiiformes - Ibises and Spoonbills
 
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Ciconiiformes
Families: Herons and Bitterns, Hammerkop, Ibises and Spoonbills, Storks, Shoebill
 
Skip to:   
Cooperative Feeding
 
Species:  
Lava Heron, Striated Heron, Scarlet Ibis, Black-faced Ibis
 
Images:   
Great Egret, Pied Heron, Grey Heron, Great Bittern, herons (woodcut), Hamerkop,
Sacred Ibis
, Australian White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, White Stork,
Marabou
, Maguari Stork, Black-necked Stork, Shoebill
 
  Family Threskiornithidae - Ibises
Wiki     ToL     EoL
EXAMPLE
    Spoonbills
Wiki     ToL
EXAMPLE
  34 (33-32) species, 14 genera. Worldwide in temperate and tropical climates on all continents except Antarctica. Formerly placed in the Family Plataleidae. Recent study suggests that this family belongs with the Pelecaniformes.
   Ibises are medium to large waders with a small head, long bill, and relatively long necks and legs. They have a short tail. Sexes are generally similar (males may be slightly larger in some species). Their flight is strong and direct and they often soar. Ibises (and cranes and storks) fly with their neck and legs extended, unlike herons who fold their neck in an "S" shape bringing the head closer to the body and retracting their legs under their body. They tend to fly in lines, sometimes forming groups of 30-40 (or many more) individuals. Ibises tend to flap and glide while spoonbills flap continuously. Ibises are strong soarers.
   Ibises have long, decurved beaks with a groove. Spoonbills have a straight spatulate bill. Their pelvic muscle formula is ABXY+. Nares are impervious and schizorhinal. The mandible has a hooked posterior process. The furcula does not meet the carina and the sternum has two incisions on each side. A biceps slip is present. The plantar tendons are connected by a vinculum.
   They lack the powder down patches found in herons and egrets (they have typical oil (uropygial) glands which are bilobed and tufted). Their bill is long, slender and down-curved (or spatulate in spoonbills). The front toes are webbed at their base. The middle toe is not pectinate. They have 10 (11) primaries, about 20 secondaries, and 12 tail feathers. They have 17-18 cervical vertebrae.
   Ibises range from solitary or highly gregarious. They are generally diurnal. Most perch and rest in trees. They often forage in groups walking slowly with their heads down, probing in mud with their long curved bills. The eat invertebrates - insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Larger species also eat small vertebrates - fish, amphibians, reptiles, and small birds and mammals. Spoonbills filter water and mud for their food - they sweep their head from side-to-side and close the bill on contacted food items. Most are sociable, feeding in flocks and nesting in colonies.
   Monogamous, generally colonial breeders building a nest of sticks in trees. Most pair at the nesting site but some have longer-term pair bonds. Both parents participate in nest building and rearing the young. They lay 2-5 eggs. Incubation lasts 20-31 days. Hatching is asynchronous. Young are semialtricial and nicicolous. Nestlings are fed a partially digested regurgitate. They have two coats of nestling down. Chicks fledge in 28-56 days and may join crèches. They become independent in 7-28 days after fledging.
   They may live 15-20 years in the wild. Adults generally have a partial prenuptial and a complete postnuptial molt.

   Two subfamilies are recognized:
Subfamily Threskiornithinae - Ibises. 28 species, 13 genera
Subfamily Plataleinae - Spoonbills. 6 species, 1 genus (Platalea)
   Monophyletic sister groups?
 
  Scarlet Ibis, Eudocimus ruber
 
Wiki     ToL     EoL
     The Scarlet Ibis closely related to the White Ibis and the two may interbreed where ranges overlap. Adults are scarlet with glack in the wing-tips. Young are gray, brown and white. Red begins to appear as young begin to fly and may take two years to reach full color (dependent on a diet of red crustaceans). The species is widespread in the Caribbean and eastern lowlands of South America
  Scarlet Ibis Scarlet Ibis Scarlet Ibis
 
Scarlet Ibis. Montecassino Bird Park, Johanesburg, South Africa.
Discovery Island, FL
  Scarlet Ibis

Ibises with egrets
Scarlet Ibis flying (left) - note black wing tips.                                                  Photos by Ed Konrad
Ibises with Snowy Egrets (above). Caroni Marsh, Trinidad

     
  Other Ibises
  Australian White Ibis Sacred Ibis  
 
Australian White Ibis (Straw-necked Ibis), Threskiornis spinicollis. Australia, Tasmania. Brisbane, Australia
Sacred Ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus. Africa to west Asia, southwest Pacific Islands.
Discovery Island,Orlando, FL

 
Wiki     ToL
Wiki     ToL     EoL
 
 
Roseatte Spoonbill



White Ibises, Euydocimus albus,
Roseate Spoonbills,
Platalea ajaja,
and an American Avocet,
Recurvirostra americana
Donnelley WMA

 

Spoonbills, Ibises
 
Roseate Spoonbill, Ajaia ajaja.
Discovery Island, Orlando, FL
                                                      Wiki      ToL
 
Photo by Ed Konrad
     
     
  Banner - 6 White Ibises and a Snowy Egret. Duneloft marsh.