Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-18

Common name:

Glossy Ibis

Scientific name: Plegadis falcinellus
Date: 21 April 2011
Time: 1:25 pm
Length of time observed: Observed: 20 min
Number: 1
Location: Provo River Parkway / Harbor Road, Provo
County: Utah
Elevation: 4500
Distance to bird: about 100 feet
Optical equipment: Kowa Spotting Scope
Weather: Cloudy, very windy
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: Large
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Big body, long legs, long neck, long bill
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: All dark
(Description:)            Bill Type: Very Long and down-curved
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Obviously a dark Ibis. Overall it looked the same size, shape and body color as the many White-faced Ibis it was with. The face pattern was the only obvious difference. The Glossy Ibis had a dark eye and facial skin at the base of the bill in front of the eye. We could compare it to the surrounding White-faced Ibis which all showed red eyes and red skin in front of the eye. The Glossy had a thin blue line that outlined the facial skin in front of, above, and below the eye, but not behind the eye. See sketch. I didn't get a good look at the legs. In the glances I was able to get they didn't appear strikingly different than the White-faced Ibis. I spent most of my time studying the face.
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Feeding on earthworms. We could only see the face in short moments when it lifted it's face out of the vegetation.
Habitat: Flooded field with green vegetation. About a foot high.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Eliminated White-faced Ibis by differences in eye and face color and the thin blue border around the face.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen many White-faced Ibis in Utah. I've seen a few Glossy Ibis in Massachusetts. A couple of years ago I saw what I think was a Glossy Ibis by River Lane but it was in the fall and the facial pattern was not as bright, obvious and sharp as this bird was. I left the River Lane bird as a 'possible' Glossy.
References consulted: Sibley Guide
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Eric Huish
Observer's address: 850 E 100 N, Pleasant Grove Ut, 84062
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Ned Bixler found the bird the day before and KC Childs was there with me when I was observing the bird.
Date prepared: 27 April and 4 May 2011
Additional material: Drawing
Additional_Comments: I tried to take a photo through the scope with my phone but there was a delay on my camera phone so by the time the camera clicked the birds head was back down in the grass. It then became very windy (blow over the scope windy) so I gave up trying to photograph the bird and just made a sketch of the face before I left.