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Finding And Photographing The Glossy Ibis

Here, Eschenbach shares some top tips on the habitats and behaviour of the glossy ibis.

| Arena D+ 10x50 B in Animals / Wildlife

Finding And Photographing The Glossy Ibis : glossy ibis

The glossy ibis belongs to the Ibis family. It forms large colonies and can be found in wetlands across the world.


The glossy ibis is about 60 centimetres long and as large as a chicken. Like all members of the ibis family it has long, slender legs and a down-curved beak. In its breeding plumage, the glossy ibis has a beautiful mahogany dress with blue, green or purple metallic sheen on its wings. It has two thin white bands going from the base of beak to the eye.

In its non-breeding plumage, the glossy ibis looks similar but somewhat less coloured. It can be easily confused with the white-faced ibis but the latter has a thin band of white feathers starting at the base of beak and surrounding the eye. Its legs also have a stronger red colour.



The glossy ibis probably originates from Africa, Europe and Asia but can now also be found in America and Australia. They are migratory and nomadic birds, always changing their habitat and moving in a large colony. Glossy ibises need shallow water to find food: wetlands, lakes, rivers, lagoons and marshes are among their favourite habitats.

As migratory birds, glossy ibises spend winter in warm areas such as the Mediterranean and tropical Africa.


Behaviour and knowledge

The glossy ibis uses its sickle shaped beak to catch insects, molluscs and worms hiding in mud. The breeding season usually starts in March (October in Australia). The male and the female build the nest together on low bushes or in reeds. The female lays 3 to 4 eggs and both parents incubate them for about 20 days, the male usually taking the "night shifts". The young will fledge after 28 days but both parents will still take care of them and feed them for several weeks.

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