White Ibises forage in groups at water’s edge, using their long, curved bills to sift through the mud, turning up crawfish, frogs, insects and other edibles. They are common locally in freshwater wetlands and saltwater marshes. When not foraging, both individuals and huge flocks perch in trees above the marsh.
You’re not going to mistake this bird for anything else; its bright white color, long orange bill and pale blue eyes are distinctive. Juveniles start out brown and gradually molt to their white adult plumage. During breeding season, their face, bill and legs turn almost scarlet.
White Ibises fly with their necks extended, their wingtips dipped in black. Large flocks often gather in the trees at sunset. When perched, they sometimes stand on one leg with the other tucked up in their body.
They build a nest of twigs in a tree or shrub and nurture three to five light green eggs with dark markings.
January 25, 2012
This morning at Brazos Bend State Park, White Ibises were thick in the sloughs, woods and shallows of the ponds, in groups of three to more than a dozen, obsessively poking their bills into the murky water like highway workers spiking trash along the road. By early afternoon, they were all up in the trees along the Spillway Trail and around Elm Lake, preening and taking a siesta.