, any of about 26 species
of medium-sized wading birds constituting the subfamily Threskiornithinae of the family Threskiornithidae (order Ciconiiformes), which also includes the spoonbills. Ibises range in length from about 55 to 75 cm (22 to 30 inches). They occur in all warm regions except on South Pacific islands. They wade in shallow lagoons, lakes, bays, and marshes and use their slender, down-curved bills to feed on small fishes and soft mollusks. They fly with neck and legs extended, alternately flapping and sailing. Ibises usually breed in vast colonies, building compact stick nests low in bushes or trees and laying three to five eggs, usually dull white or mottled with brown.
The glossy ibis
) and its close relative the white-faced ibis (P. chihi
) are small forms with dark reddish brown and glossy purplish plumage. Pictured here are the White & Glossy species
Ibises all have long, down-curved bills, and usually feed as a group, probing mud for food items, usually crustaceans
. They are monogamous and highly territorial while nesting and feeding.