Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-24

Common name:

Glossy Ibis

Scientific name: Plegadis falcinellus
Date: June 5, 2006
Time: approx 8:20 pm
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: unknown
Location: Benson, 1/2 mile west of 3200 W on 3000 N
County: Cache
Latilong: 3
Elevation: 4420 ft
Distance to bird: 50 ft
Optical equipment: Swarovski 20-60x ATS 65mm HD Spotting Scope
Weather: Clear, warm (80 F), no wind
Light Conditions: low bright sun which clearly illuminated the bird
Description:        Size of bird: similar to nearby white-faced ibis and cattle egret
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Ibis
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  dark chestnut brown with irridescent wings
(Description:)            Bill Type: long, thick, strongly decurved
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
This bird was clearly an ibis with a long, thick, decurved bill; moderately long, thin neck; long, tapered body (like under pressured football), and long legs. It was nearly identical in shape and body color (except face and legs) to the numerous white-faced ibis with which it was feeding. The head and neck were dark brown, the body was a dark brown with a chestnut tinge that had a metallic sheen, the wings were greenish-black and dark purple iridescent, and the tail was nearly black. The legs were a medium brownish-gray with a slight hint of reddish color around the knee joint. The facial pattern was observed at 60x magnification at 50 ft for over ten minutes with the sun low and behind me--ideal light conditions. The bill was medium brown.
The eye was dark, with the iris a blackish brown color. The face was dark brown with no hint of red or purple in the area between the eye and bill. There were two very narrow light lines (light blue) along the facial skin from just in front of the eye to the upper and lower base of the bill. The narrow upper lines appeared to connect around the top of the bill. It was unclear if the lower lines connected under the bill. The upper and lower lines were not connected behind the eye--this was dark brown as with the rest of the head (see drawing). The dark head pattern was noticeably different than the nearby white-faced ibis (all dark brown in this bird vs. a reddish face with broad whitish facial outline that extended behind the red eye in the white-faced ibis). The bird was slightly smaller than the average companion white-faced ibis (they varied much in size).
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: Actively feeding in flooded field with about 150 white-faced ibis.
Habitat: flooded, grassy field (short-statured so legs were easily observed)
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
White-faced ibis:
Adult white-faced ibis in June all have red irises and red legs--this bird had grayish legs and a blackish-brown iris. In the white-faced ibis, the white bordering facial skin extends continuously around the eye and is broad--this bird had very fine, light lines (light bluish) along the facial skin from the eye forward. Breeding plumage white-faced ibis have red facial skin, this bird had a dark brown face.

Hybrid white-faced x glossy ibis:
Hybrids of these two species have intermediate facial characteristics. In particular, the facial skin is dark red to purple and the eye shows some reddish tint--the observed bird had a dark brown face and a totally dark (no reddish color) eye.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
 I have seen many glossy ibis in Texas, Florida, Portugal, Australia
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds; National Geographic Birds of North America
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Ron Ryel
Observer's address: 1649 N. 1000 E., North Logan, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Melanie Spriggs. Also, Keith and Judy Archibald saw what they thought was a glossy ibis a few days earlier near where this bird was seen.
Date prepared: June 5, 2006
Additional material: Drawing
Additional comments: