Resembles an all-dark curlew, with a long, down-curved bill (noticeably thicker than a shorebird bill), small head, long thin neck, slender body, long legs. Adult breeding (alternate plumage): looks black from a distance, but in good light is mostly dark chestnut. Back and wings are dark green with glossy irridescence. Plain, dark chestnut-maroon head, dark brown eye and narrow pale gray-blue (can look white) lines border the dark blue-gray facial skin above and below, but do not connect behind the eye like a White-faced Ibis. Bill is straw brown. Dark chestnut-maroon neck, underparts, and upper back. Dark, glossy, greenish color on wings, lower back and tail. Legs are entirely dark and lack the contrasting red ankle joints shown by White-faced. Basic adult: like breeding, but less glossy and more sooty-brown overall. Fine, short, white streaking on head and neck. Hatch-year (after Nov): similar to basic-plumaged adult, but a bit duller and more sooty overall. Juvenile (before Nov): broadly striped pale and dark bill. Plain, dusky brown overall, including legs. Facial skin is dark with no pale border. Fine, short streaking on head and neck. Less glossy than adult. Variable white splotching on chin and throat. By late fall, often acquires dark gray face bordered by pale blue-gray lines. All ages very similar to to White-faced Ibis, but bill is brown or straw-colored rather than gray and the iris is dark rather than red. Alternate-plumaged adult: White-faced Ibis show a brighter plumage overall, brighter red legs with contrasting pink knees, red eye and facial skin. White lines bordering face are wider, less crisply defined, and connect behind the eye. Non-breeding White-faced are slightly paler overall and show a reddish eye and facial skin. Juvenile and first year White-faced Ibis very similar to Glossy Ibis, but White-faced Ibis paler on average, and by late fall. Most White-faced Ibis have reddish eye and reddish cast to face.
Length: 58 (cm) Wingspan: 91 (cm)
Groaning: uunn unnn unnn unnn or nasal quacking wah wah wah wah. While foraging in flocks, makes quiet, nasal, doubled grunt. Rattles and croaks made by birds at breeding colonies.
Utilizes trees while roosting and nesting. Shallow ponds, wooded swamps, marshes, mudflats and wet or flooded meadows while foraging.
Probes at ground while feeding. Forms foraging flocks. Nests in mixed colonies with other ibis, herons, and egrets.
Diet consists of crayfish, fiddler crabs, small snakes, worms, insects and aquatic invertebrates.
Expanded Life History
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