Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-46

Common name:

Glossy Ibis

Scientific name: Plegadis falcinellus
Date: 20 May 2013
Time: 1:05 PM
Length of time observed: 15 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult or subadult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Amalga Barrens (town of Amalga)
County: Cache
Distance to bird: ~60 feet
Optical equipment: Nikon 20x spotting scope
Weather: Sunny, breezy.
Light Conditions: Direct sunlight from almost straight overhead, slightly behind us.
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)
Song or call & method of delivery: None noticed.
Habitat: Shallow pool with emergent vegetation and adjacent mudflats at Amalga Barrens. This bird was alone (not with other ibis), but about 15 White-faced Ibis were seen nearby (about a quarter mile away).
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 completely distinct line, but rather a 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 all lighting angles. Legs were a bit pinker than other Glossy Ibis I have seen, mostly a dull grayish pink with more obvious pink around the joints.
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 four other Glossy Ibis in Utah (see records 2008-14 and 2013-38, and another record just submitted [no number assigned yet]), 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: Frank Howe and 16 participants on this field trip Frank and I co-led for the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival.
Date prepared: 24 May 2013
Additional material: photos (frame grab from video) submitted with record. Videos available upon request.
Additional_Comments: eBird checklist for this observation: