The American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) is a species of medium-sized wading bird belonging to the Ibis family Threskiornithidae. The can be found in most of the aquatic or marine habitats and wet areas of the Atlantic coast of Central America, including the southern United States, where some of their nesting colonies can be as large as 20,000 to 30,000 birds.
Their preferred breeding range is usually along the Gulf and Atlantic Coast of southern regions of the United States and in most of the marine and aquatic habitats and wetlands of the Central American tropics. Their breeding range may extend to most of the New World tropics, including Mexico and Central American countries, reaching north up to the Carolinas. Their non-breeding range can further extend inland reaching up to Virginia and eastern Texas in North America, and Columbia and Venezuela in South America, and also the Caribbean.
The American White Ibises have white plumages, red-orange downward curved bills, long legs, and black wing tips. They are sexually dimorphic, as male birds are larger than female birds. They are known to interbreed with Scarlet Ibises, though they are classified as belonging to the same species. White ibises feed on small aquatic prey such as insects, frogs and small fishes.
The American White Ibis is usually a monogamous bird that keeps only one mate during one breeding season, although males may engage in extra-pair copulation with other female birds to ensure their reproductive success. Both the male and female birds take care of the young.
The White Ibises’ habitats can be any wet or aquatic environs like coastal marshes, mangrove swamps, wetlands, and wet areas such as muddy pools, mudflats, wet lawns, ponds and waterlogged fields.
Photo Credit: Jim Mathisen/USFWS, J.N. ‘DING’ DARLING NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, published by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2009-01-29).
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