Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2009-26

Common name:

Glossy Ibis

Scientific name: Plegadis falcinellus
Date: April 20 & 21, 2009
Time: various
Length of time observed: 2 hours total
Number: 1
Age: adult
Location: Washington Fields
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~ 820 m
Distance to bird: 15-50m
Optical equipment: 20 x 60x
Weather: clear and calm
Light Conditions: direct afternoon light
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
I observed an adult Glossy Ibis with a large flock of White-faced Ibis in the field north of the Y-drain (adjacent to the Virgin River) in the Washington Fields on the afternoon of April 20, 2009. The blue facial skin and dark eye were the most notable features through the scope. In certain lights and angles, the bill appeared more reddish brown in direct comparison with adjacent White-faced Ibis (whose bills were more grayish brown). Differences in leg color were also very subtle and only detectable in some conditions, with the Glossy Ibis appearing to have darker legs overall; WF Ibis tended to have more reddish legs overall, however, usually the reddish joints were more noticeable in the Glossy because of the contrast between the joints and darker upper and lower legs (WFIb more uniform reddish across length of leg). Kevin and Pam Wheeler were able to join me and briefly observe the Glossy Ibis.

I relocated the Glossy Ibis on April 21, 2009 foraging in a recently flooded field in the southeast corner of the Washington Fields. The bird was again with a large flock of White-faced Ibis and was actively foraging, eating primarily earthworms. There was also an apparent hybrid White-faced x Glossy Ibis present in the flock. The hybrid ibis was overall very similar to a Glossy Ibis with blue facial skin. The eye was darker than White-faced Ibis however it was distinctly reddish in direct light. The facial skin was also paler blue than the nearby Glossy Ibis and more blended through the loral area (i.e. the facial skin of the apparent hybrid was more uniform blue whereas, the Glossy Ibis had a very distinct blue border and darker lores). I could not pick out any consistent differences in plumage, bill color, or leg color between the hybrid and either Glossy or White-faced Ibis present.

Overall large dark wader with long legs, and long down-curved bill. Plumage coloration - glossy brownish red head, neck, and back, with purplish, green gloss across back, wings, and tail. Long, dark brown legs, with reddish brown joint. Bill long, down-curved, and reddish brown. Eye dark brown, with bluish-purple bare skin in loral area; distinct blue border thicker along top of bare facial skin and darker purple lores.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery:  
Habitat: flooded agriculture fields
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
White-faced Ibis distinguished by red eye vs. dark eye, and pink facial skin vs. blue bordered facial skin.

Hybrid distinguished by reddish eye and uniform bluish facial skin (lacking blue borders and dark lores).

Field notes above include direct comparison of Glossy with both White-faced and hybrid ibis.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
yes, I was also able to study many hybrid ibis subsequent to this sighting in May 2009 at the Salt Plains NWR, OK.
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 12-16-09
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: Notes copied from field notes. I will also include a photo of the apparent White-faced x Glossy Ibis hybrid.