Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2010-17

Common name:

Glossy Ibis

Scientific name: Plegadis facinellus
Date: April 24, 2010
Time: 11:15 a.m.
Length of time observed: 30 min +
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Bear River MBR, .1 mi NE of observation tower at S end of auto tour loop
County: Box Elder
Latilong: N41�26'00.5" W112�17'27.9"
Elevation: 4216 ft
Distance to bird: 50 meters, as per the range finder in Jack's camera lens
Optical equipment: 10 x 42 and 8 x 42 binos; 85 mm scope w/20-60x eyepiece
Weather: Clear and sunny, temps in the 50s
Light Conditions: Bright, sun at our backs
Description:        Size of bird: Same as nearby WF Ibis
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Flattened football
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Brown and rust with iridescent tones
(Description:)            Bill Type: Long, sturdy, decurved
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Clearly a Plegadis ibis by appearance similar to White-faced. About 18 inches tall from the ground, long neck and legs, long decurved bill. Overall a warm brown with rusty scapulars that wrapped around the front of the wing; color merged on the underparts and proceeded to just aft of the legs. Wing coverts, flight feathers, tail above and below a base brown with dark greenish to violet iridescent tones. Iridescent tones tended toward green rather than bronzy or coppery; seemed less colorful than nearby WF-Ibis.

Bill: Brown.
Eye: Brown. No glint of red in any light or at any angle.
Facial skin: Powder blue, narrow border that started at the top of each eye, proceeded forward of the eye and thickened, then narrowed again and wrapped around the front of the forehead. Also began below the eye, proceeded forward with a small thicker area where the border met the lower mandible. Blue color did not wrap behind the eye. Lores area was also pale blue. No pink, purple, lavendar or violet.
Legs: Gray above and below tibio-tarsal joint; joint itself was pink. Colors noted when entire leg was wet.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard.
Behavior: Foraging in water sometimes just below tibio-tarsal joint; sometimes as deep as the bird's belly. Fast, rhythmic foraging underwater with many probing motions, then above the water with a backward head jerk to toss some object into the back of the throat, followed by another head plunge. Foraged without stopping during the entire observation period.
Habitat: Open wetland with little vegetation in the immediate area.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
White-faced Ibis: No white feathering around the face; no red in the eye; no red or pink in the facial skin; tibio-tarsal joint was pink while leg above and below was gray. White-faced Ibis should have shown more or less of all of the features above except for the pink leg joint, and especially a red eye and red or pink in the face.

White-faced x Glossy Ibis: No glint of red in the eye at any angle in outstanding lighting conditions and distance. No other color facial skin besides pale blue.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Jack: Has found and photographed a Glossy Ibis most years since the species was detected in Utah in 2006 and submitted records most years; all were accepted. Extensive experience with WF; one possible hybrid in 2007.

Kris: Extensive with both species; none with hybrids.
References consulted: References: At home, after photos taken and notes documented:
Jack: Sibley, 2000, and previous photos.
Kris: Sibley, 2000; sight records back through 2006; Kaufman, 1990; Leukering, 2008.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Jack Binch, Kristin Purdy
Observer's address: Sandy (Jack), Ogden (Kris)
Observer's e-mail address:,
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Jack found and identified the bird and put out the call; other birders already on the refuge converged on the spot, including Kris, Betsy Beneke, Cindy and Steve Sommerfeld, Bob Huntington, Geoff Hardies and Bob MacDougall. I believe all agreed with the ID by virtue of their own observations.
Date prepared: April 27, 2010
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: Notes taken independently of photos.