Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-45

Common name:

Glossy Ibis

Scientific name: Plegadis falcinellus
Date: 11 May 2013
Time: 4:30 PM
Length of time observed:  ~10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult or subadult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Polishing Ponds (in the town of Benson)
County: Cache
Distance to bird: ~80 feet
Optical equipment: Nikon 20x spotting scope
Weather: mix of sun and clouds
Light Conditions: Intermittently diffuse sunlight
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Easily identified as one of the two dark ibis species by distinctive shape; dark chestnut head and back with iridescent greenish-bronze wings; and long, decurved, relatively thick bill. See "similar species" and photos for separation from White-faced Ibis.
(see photos & video)
Song or call & method of delivery: None.
Habitat: Late stage of Logan's wastewater treatment facility. This time of year, a combination of shallow pools and barren mudflats, about 40/60 respectively by surface area. Among about 1000 White-faced Ibis (estimated about 10 fields of 100 birds each) and at least one apparent White-faced x Glossy Ibis hybrid.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
White-faced Ibis (or hybrid) is the only potential confusion species. This bird had grayish facial skin (completely lacking any pink, reddish, or purple) with a suffusion of pale blue that was most obvious and palest around the margins of the face, and with no white feathering at all around the face. Unlike some individuals, the pale blue border to the facial skin was not a distinct line, but rather a subtle gradation of color and tone from the central facial skin. I believe this may be an indication of a less-than-adult bird, but it may also be just individual variation among adults. The powder blue border to the facial skin did not wrap behind the eye. The eyes were clearly dark, lacking any red, appearing black in most lighting angles but sometimes in excellent light appearing a very dark brown. Legs were mostly grayish with pink around the joints. About one thousand White-faced Ibis and at least one probable White-faced x Glossy hybrid were present for direct comparison.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen thousands of White-faced Ibis, mostly in Utah but also in California, Nebraska, Arizona, and Idaho. I have seen three other Glossy Ibis in Utah (see records 2008-14 and 2013-38), plus a few more on a recent trip to North Carolina.
References consulted: None.
Description from: Photos and memory
Observer: Ryan O'Donnell
Observer's address: 1098 Crescent Dr
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Craig Fosdick and Heath (I forget Heath's last name).
Date prepared: 24 May 2013
Additional material: photos and video (Flickr video from which the three screen shots [photos B,C & D] were taken)
Additional_Comments: Two Glossy Ibis were seen six days earlier about two miles to the northeast of here (see 2013-38). It is possible this record represents a resighting of the second of those two Glossy Ibis (the facial skin pattern is a good match for the second, but not for the first, as ordered in that UBRC record). However, I think it is most parsimonious to consider these two separate sightings. eBird checklist for this observation: