White Ibis

white ibis in flight above a marsh
White ibis in flight at Cattail Marsh

NPS Photo / Soren George-Nichol

Eudocimus albus

White ibises are found along the coastlines of the southeastern United States year-round. They are usually seen by the water, where they forage for food by standing in shallow water and moving their bill side to side and probing along the bottom. They eat a lot of crustaceans such as crawfish and crabs, but can eat a variety of small marine animals from worms to frogs.

White ibises breed in colonies in mangroves, thickets, or other marshland habitats. Both parents help build the nest. The male will collect nesting material while the female will construct the nest with the sticks and reeds her partner brings. Females will lay two to three eggs and parents will take turns incubating them. Both parents will feed the chicks. Chicks will live in or near the nest for about three weeks, but will remain in the breeding colony for about seven weeks. When they are able to fly longer distances, they may leave the colony with other adults to forage for food.

Davis, W. E., & Jackson, J. A. (2007). Willets kleptoparasitize and use White Ibis as “beaters”. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 119(4), 758-760.

Kaufman, K. (2001). Lives of North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Kushlan, J. A. (1979). Feeding ecology and prey selection in the White Ibis. The Condor, 81(4), 376-389.

Last updated: May 4, 2021

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