South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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White-faced Ibis

Plegadis chihi

Length: 22 - 26 inches Wingspan: 38 inches Seasonality: Summer/Migrant
ID Keys: Dark brown and chestnut body, long decurved bill, reddish legs

White-faced Ibis - Plegadis chihiThe White-faced Ibis is the Ibis most commonly found in South Dakota.  It is very similar to the Glossy Ibis, but the two species ranges are generally distinctive.   Where they do overlap, intermediates (possibly hybrids) can make positive identification nearly impossible.  They currently appear to be expanding in both range and in number.

Habitat: Prefers shallow freshwater marshes, flooded fields, rice paddies.  Will also forage in saltwater marshes.

Diet: Mostly insect and crustaceans, also earthworms, frogs, tadpoles, snails, leeches, and small fish.

Behavior: Forages in shallow water, probing for food items in the muddy bottom. They will also take insects and other prey from the water's surface, or by foraging on dry land.

Nesting: June and July

Breeding Map: Breeding Bird Survey map

Song: White-faced Ibis song.

Migration: Summers in scattered locations throughout the central and western United States.  Winters in California, Arizona, the Gulf Coast, and points south.

Similar Species: Glossy Ibis.  Juvenile White Ibis can appear similar.

Conservation Status: Has increased in number since the 1970s, and is expanding in range.  Previous declines are attributed to DDT and other pesticides.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, White-faced Ibis

2) eNature.com: White-faced Ibis

3) Whatbird.com: White-faced Ibis

Photo Information: April 25th, 2004 -- 4 miles west of Oldham -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution White-faced Ibis photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
White-faced Ibis - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Locally common summer breeder in the northeastern part of the state, uncommon migrant elsewhere in the east.  Rare migrant in the western part of the state.