Glossy Ibis have always been a somewhat uncommon bird in our area. We would see some occasionally, but you could never count on seeing one, especially in nice lighting. The glossy ibis will only display the colorful feather iridescence at exactly the proper sunlight angle, and the colors become more bold and pronounced as they age into mature adults.

The first two photos are a juvenile glossy seen feeding along the edge of the marsh and you may notice how it’s neck is brown with some white speckling.

I pulled the third photo of a mature glossy out of the my files, and you can see it’s crisp, maroon neck and almost silvery body reflecting the sunlight.

Interestingly, when seen in flight they often appear black as if in silhouette. Which means that one way to differentiate a glossy in flight from a white ibis at distance is to see the typical ibis curved bill shape on a black bird, and they often travel in small groups.

I’m not sure what has caused the lack of glossy ibis appearances here recently because the standard white ibis continues to remain a pretty much ‘every day’ bird in terms sightings. 


15 thoughts on “Glossy

  1. The iridescence of their feathers is shown to perfection in your photos, Phil. They’re gorgeous. We have plenty of the white ones around here, but if I want to see glossy, I have to drive to the local nature preserve, where I’ve seen only a couple.

  2. This is a first for me, Phil, aren’t they simply stunning? The iridescence of the feathers in the young ibis is as gorgeous to me as the adult. Thank you for these!

  3. Phil, first of all I’m SO delighted to be receiving your blogs on email again, and of course the stupendous nature pics at the Huntington State Park that only YOU can produce! (We planned a week-long vacation around that State Park, and soaked in all that it had to offer, thanks to you.) Second, your description of the wonder of the Ibis is quite arresting. Folk in general would tend to just “gloss” over the bird (ha! no pun intended), but now that you’ve described it even more vividly, I need to pay closer attention and give the bird the homage it deserves.

    Please, if you are going to “disappear” again for a time period, do give us a heads-up (or I might have missed it the last time). Not really fun not hearing from you. 😀

    Blessings –

    • Hello Edna, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comments, they are greatly appreciated.
      Actually one of the reasons I kind of retired from wildlife photography at HBSP for a while was that some things changed and it wasn’t like it used to be in term of wildlife. I’m just happy for the glory days of 2008-2016 when there was so much going on. The situation has improved some so I’ll be trying to keep searching for fun and interesting wildlife photo opportunities.
      Nice hearing from you and best wishes!

    • Happy you liked these Charles! And just to make matters a bit more confusing, the more commonly seen white ibis starts out life as an all brown juvenile. It’s not until these they reach a more mature adulthood that they become all white, with that distinctive orange bill and bright blue eyes.

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