American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

American White Ibis

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Threskiornithidae | [latin] Eudocimus albus | [authority] Linnaeus, 1758 | [UK] American White Ibis | [FR] Serin des Kipengere | [DE] Schneesichler | [ES] Corocoro Blanco | [NL] Witte Ibis


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Eudocimus albus NA, LA s USA, Caribbean, n SA


The White Ibis is, as both its common and scientific names imply, white with brilliant scarlet legs, facial skin, and bill. The Scarlet Ibis, as both its common and scientific names imply, is a brilliant scarlet red over its whole body, the only non-scarlet regions restricted to the distal third of the outer four primaries, the eye, and the bill, which are black. The White Ibis forms a superspecies with the Scarlet Ibis and there have been recent proposals to merge the two species based on ecological similarities and frequent hybridization where their ranges overlap in Venezuela. The White Ibis is found from the southeastern United States south to northern Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. The Scarlet Ibis is restricted to the northern third of South America where it occupies a number of aquatic habitats.

Physical charateristics

Note the red face, long decurved red bill, and restricted black wingtips. Immature is dark brownish; note the white belly, white rump, curved red
bill. In flight, the neck is outstretched; flocks fly in strings, flapping and gliding; often soar in circles.

Listen to the sound of American White Ibis

[audio: White Ibis.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 90 cm wingspan max.: 100 cm
size min.: 63 cm size max.: 67 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America, Latin America : South USA, Caribbean, North South America


Salt, brackish, and fresh marshes, rice fields, mangroves. May forage in any kind of shallow water, commonly flying to feed in fresh water even in coastal
regions. Foraging sites include marshes, mudflats, flooded pastures, lake edges, mangrove lagoons, grassy fields. Nests in mangroves, trees in swamps, dense thickets, sometimes on ground on islands or in marshes.


Breeds in colonies, sometimes mixed with other wading birds. Displays of male include ritualized preening, leaning over and grasping twig in bill, pointing bill skyward and lowering head onto back.
Nest: Sites in mangroves, trees, and thickets, usually 2 -1
5′ above ground or water, sometimes higher or on ground. Nest built by both sexes, male bringing most material, female doing most of building. Material often stolen from nests of other pairs. Nest is usually platform of sticks, sometimes of cordgrass or r
Clutch 2 -3, up to 5. Pale blue-green to white, blotched with brown. Incubation is by both sexes, averages 21 days.
Young: Both parents feed young, by regurgitation. Young may clamber about near nest after 3 weeks, can make short flights after 4 -5 weeks
, capable of sustained flight at 6 weeks, may leave colony to forage with adults after 7 weeks.

Feeding habits

Varied; includes many crustaceans. Diet is quite variable, but crayfish and crabs are major items. Also eats insects, snails, frogs, marine worms, snakes, small fish.
Behavior: Forages by walking slowly in shallow water, sweeping bill from side to side and probing at bottom. Also f
orages on land, especially on mud or in short grass. Finds food by touch while probing, by sight at other times, seizing items from surface. White Ibises may steal food from each other and, in turn, have food stolen from them by larger species.

Video American White Ibis


copyright: Wayne Hall


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
American White Ibis status Least Concern


Southeastern United States to northern South America. Summer dispersal north to dash line. bMigration:
Present throughout year in most of breeding range, but numbers are much lower in winter in northern areas; banded birds from United States have been recovered in Mexico, Cuba, northern South America. May wander far north and inland after breeding season.

Distribution map

American White Ibis distribution range map

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