Eudocimus albus - (Linnaeus, 1758)
White Ibis
Other English Common Names: white ibis
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Eudocimus albus (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 174930)
French Common Names: Ibis blanc
Spanish Common Names: Ibis Blanco
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100028
Element Code: ABNGE01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Wading Birds
Image 7490

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Pelecaniformes Threskiornithidae Eudocimus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Eudocimus albus
Taxonomic Comments: May constitute a superspecies with E. ruber (AOU 1998).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 20Nov1996
Global Status Last Changed: 20Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Still common in many areas of the large range. Large declines have occurred in Florida in recent decades.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (19Mar1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S2B,S3N), Arkansas (S1B), Florida (S4), Georgia (S4), Louisiana (S5), Mississippi (S2B,S3N), New Jersey (SNA), North Carolina (S3B,S3N), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S3N), Texas (S4B), Virginia (S1B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Resident from central Baja California, central Sinaloa, southern and eastern Texas, southern Louisiana, Florida, southeastern Georgia, and coastal North Carolina (rarely Virginia) south along coasts and through Greater Antilles to French Guiana and northwestern Peru. Wanders casually north. (AOU 1983). In the U.S., the highest winter densities occur in Florida and around the mouth of the Mississippi River (Root 1988).

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: In southern Florida, declined 90% from 1940 to 1974, 80% from 1975 to the late 1980s; 50% decline statewide in the past decade (BWD Skimmer, April 1993). Populations in the south-central U.S. may be benefiting from crayfish aquaculture; bird population increases may be related to favorable foraging opportunities afforded by expanding crayfish aquaculture (Fleury and Sherry 1995).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Resident from central Baja California, central Sinaloa, southern and eastern Texas, southern Louisiana, Florida, southeastern Georgia, and coastal North Carolina (rarely Virginia) south along coasts and through Greater Antilles to French Guiana and northwestern Peru. Wanders casually north. (AOU 1983). In the U.S., the highest winter densities occur in Florida and around the mouth of the Mississippi River (Root 1988).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, NJ, SC, TN, TX, VA

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Mobile (01097)
FL Alachua (12001), Brevard (12009), Broward (12011), Calhoun (12013), Charlotte (12015), Citrus (12017), Collier (12021), Columbia (12023), DeSoto (12027), Dixie (12029), Duval (12031), Escambia (12033), Gadsden (12039)*, Gilchrist (12041), Glades (12043)*, Hamilton (12047), Hardee (12049), Hendry (12051), Hernando (12053), Highlands (12055)*, Hillsborough (12057), Holmes (12059), Indian River (12061), Jackson (12063), Lafayette (12067), Lake (12069), Lee (12071), Leon (12073), Levy (12075), Madison (12079), Manatee (12081), Marion (12083), Martin (12085), Miami-Dade (12086), Monroe (12087), Okeechobee (12093), Orange (12095), Osceola (12097), Palm Beach (12099), Pasco (12101), Pinellas (12103), Polk (12105), Putnam (12107), Sarasota (12115), St. Johns (12109)*, St. Lucie (12111), Sumter (12119), Suwannee (12121), Volusia (12127), Walton (12131), Washington (12133)
MS Adams (28001), Bolivar (28011)*, Claiborne (28021)*, Coahoma (28027), Hinds (28049), Holmes (28051), Issaquena (28055), Jackson (28059), Newton (28101), Noxubee (28103), Oktibbeha (28105), Pearl River (28109), Sharkey (28125)*, Tallahatchie (28135), Warren (28149)*, Washington (28151), Yazoo (28163)
SC Berkeley (45015)
VA Accomack (51001), Northampton (51131)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Chincoteague (02040303)+, Eastern Lower Delmarva (02040304)+, Pokomoke-Western Lower Delmarva (02080111)+
03 Cooper (03050201)+, Nassau (03070205)+, Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Daytona - St. Augustine (03080201)+, Cape Canaveral (03080202)+, Vero Beach (03080203)+, Kissimmee (03090101)+, Northern Okeechobee Inflow (03090102)+, Western Okeechobee Inflow (03090103)+*, Lake Okeechobee (03090201)+*, Everglades (03090202)+, Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+, Big Cypress Swamp (03090204)+, Caloosahatchee (03090205)+*, Florida Southeast Coast (03090206)+, Peace (03100101)+, Myakka (03100102)+, Charlotte Harbor (03100103)+, Sarasota Bay (03100201)+, Alafia (03100204)+, Hillsborough (03100205)+, Tampa Bay (03100206)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+, Waccasassa (03110101)+, Econfina-Steinhatchee (03110102)+, Aucilla (03110103)+, Upper Suwannee (03110201)+, Lower Suwannee (03110205)+, Santa Fe (03110206)+, Lower Ochlockonee (03120003)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+, Chipola (03130012)+, Perdido Bay (03140107)+, Lower Choctawhatchee (03140203)+, Noxubee (03160108)+, Chunky-Okatibbee (03170001)+, Pascagoula (03170006)+, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+, Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+, Lower Pearl. Mississippi (03180004)+
08 Lower Mississippi-Helena (08020100)+, Tallahatchie (08030202)+, Upper Yazoo (08030206)+, Big Sunflower (08030207)+, Deer-Steele (08030209)+, Lower Mississippi-Natchez (08060100)+*, Lower Big Black (08060202)+*, Bayou Pierre (08060203)+*, Homochitto (08060205)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: A medium-sized wading bird with a long decurved bill, long legs, and a long neck (extended in flight); adult has white plumage and featherless pink facial skin, which, along with the bill and legs turns scarlet during the breeding season; tips of primaries in white adult are black (visible only in flight). Immatures initially are dark brown on the upperside of the wings, and have white underparts and wing linings and a pinkish bill; they gradually change to white plumage of adult over a period of about two years. Average length 64 cm, wingspan 97 cm (NGS 1983).
Diagnostic Characteristics: No other North American bird of this size has both a long, slender, decurved, pink/scarlet bill and a white belly (bill of the much larger wood stork is yellow much thicker).
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size is 3-4 in the north, usually 2 in the south (Central and South America). Incubation lasts about 21- 23 days, by both sexes. Young leave nest at about three weeks, fly at about five weeks. Captive birds first bred at 2 years (Terres 1980, Palmer 1962). Largest colonies in coastal U.S. comprise about 5000-6200 birds on Atlantic coast (in Carolinas), 20,000 at Cedar Keys, Florida, and 60,000 just north of Lake Maurepas, Louisiana, on Gulf Coast (Spendelow and Patton 1988). In Florida, nesting success and high nesting numbers were associated with rapid water drying rate in spring (Frederick and Collopy 1989).
Ecology Comments: Highly gregarious. When not breeding, congregates at communal roosts; may move long distance between roost and feeding area (Hilty and Brown 1986).

Fish crow may prey on eggs but effect on ibis productivity was regarded as negligible in North Carolina (Shields and Parnell 1986).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Makes local seasonal movements along Gulf Coast.
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, Scrub-shrub wetland, Tidal flat/shore
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Habitat Comments: Various salt water and freshwater habitats: marshes, mangroves, lagoons, lakes, marsh prairie, pasture, coastal swamps (AOU 1983, Kushlan 1979). Often perches in trees. Nests in trees or shrubs near water, especially in wooded swamps; also on matted clumps of JUNCUS (Frederick 1987) or other marsh vegetation. May show fidelity to nest area despite chronic nest loss due to tidal washover. Typically nests with smaller EGRETTA herons (Frederick 1987).
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly crustaceans, also fishes, frogs, small snakes, slugs, snails, insects; probes into mud with bill or picks up food from surface among mangroves, along edges of ponds, in marsh prairie, fields, and in shallow estuaries (Palmer 1962). In South Carolina, dependent of crayfish availability in wetlands (Bildstein et al. 1990).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Forages during daylight (Powell 1987).
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 64 centimeters
Weight: 1036 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Colonial Wading Birds

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Breeding Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Small heron colonies (rookeries or heronries) are often ephemeral in nature; recommend tracking rookeries which maintain a minimum of 15 active nests over 2-3 years. Where concentrations of non-breeding individuals occur within the boundaries of a breeding occurrence (especially if augmented by migrants), consider creating a separate occurrence with Location Use Class 'Nonbreeding.'
Mapping Guidance: Map Foraging Areas in separate polygons from the breeding colony if they are separated from the colony by areas simply flown over on commuting routes.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Occurrences include breeding colonies and foraging areas, but the separation distance pertains to breediing colonies. Hence, difference occurrences may overlap. Unsuitable habitat: upland areas, except those known to be used regularly for foraging (e.g., meadows used by great egrets).

Separation distance is an arbitrary compromise between the high mobility of these birds and the need for occurrences of practical size for conservation planning. Occurrences do not necessarily represent discrete populations or metapopulations.

Colony fidelity low in some species (e.g. Roseate Spoonbill, Dumas 2000; Glossy Ibis, Davis and Kricher 2000).

Feeding areas associated with a breeding colony (i.e. different features of the same occurrence) may be a number of kilometers away from the colony: averaging 12 kilometers for Roseate Spoonbill (Dumas 2000); 7.3 kilometers for Glossy Ibis (Davis and Kricher 2000); 2.8 to more than 5 kilometers for Snowy Egrets (Smith 1995).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: A low mean foraging range size for this group.
Date: 28Oct2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Roost, Foraging area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of flocks of non-breeding birds (including historical), including non-breeding birds within the breeding season and breeding individuals outside the breeding season; and potential recurring presence at a given location. Normally only areas where concentrations greater than 10 birds occur regularly for at least 20 days per year would be deemed occurrences. Be cautious about creating occurrences for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary, set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of manageable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on foraging ranges from breeding rookeries.
Date: 19Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04May1995
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 27Dec1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Alabama Ornithological Society. 2006. Field checklist of Alabama birds. Alabama Ornithological Society, Dauphin Island, Alabama. [Available online at http://www.aosbirds.org/documents/AOSChecklist_april2006.pdf ]

  • Allen, C. R., S. Demarais, and R. S. Lutz. 1994. Red imported fire ant impact on wildlife: an overview. The Texas Journal of Science 46(1):51-59.

  • American Ornithologists Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American Birds. 7th edition. American Ornithologists Union, Washington, D.C. 829 pages.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.

  • Bildstein, K. L. 1993. White ibis: wetland wanderer. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. xiii + 242 pp.

  • Bildstein, K. L., et al. 1990. Freshwater wetlands, rainfall, and the breeding ecology of white ibises in coastal South Carolina. Wilson Bull. 102:84-98.

  • BirdLife International. 2004b. Threatened birds of the world 2004. CD ROM. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

  • DICKINSON, MARY B., ED. 1999. FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA, 3RD ED. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY, WASHINGTON, D.C. 480 PP.

  • Dumas, J. V. 2000. Roseate Spoonbill (AJAIA AJAJA). No. 490 IN A. Poole and F. Gill, editors, The birds of North America. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 32pp.

  • Fleury, B. E., and T. W. Sherry. 1995. Long-term population trends of colonial wading birds in the southern United States: the impact of crayfish aquaculture on Louisiana populations. Auk 112:613-632.

  • Frederick, P. 1987. Chronic tidally-induced nest failure in a colony of white ibises. Condor 89:413-419.

  • Frederick, P. C., and M. W. Collopy. 1989. Nesting success of five ciconiiform species in relation to water conditions in the Florida Everglades. Auk 106:625-634.

  • Hancock, J. A., J. A. Kushlan, and M. P. Kahl. 1992. Storks, ibises and spoonbills of the world. Academic Press, San Diego, California. iv + 336 text pages.

  • Harrison, C. 1978. A Field Guide to the Nests, Eggs and Nestlings of North American Birds. Collins, Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Hilty, S.L. and W. L. Brown. 1986. A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton, USA. 836 pp.

  • Howell, S. N. G., and S. Webb. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

  • Imhof, T. A. 1976. Alabama birds. Second edition. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. 445 pages.

  • Imhof, T. A. 1976. Alabama birds. Second edition. Univ. Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. 445 pp.

  • Kushlan, J. A. 1977. Population energetics of the American white ibis. Auk 94:114-122.

  • Kushlan, J. A. 1979. Feeding ecology and prey selection in the white ibis. Condor 81:376-389.

  • Lowery, George H. 1974. The Birds of Louisiana. LSU Press. 651pp.

  • Mirarchi, R. E., M. A. Bailey, T. M. Haggerty, and T. L. Best, editors. 2004. Alabama wildlife. Volume 3. Imperiled amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 225 pages.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., editor. 2004. Alabama Wildlife. Volume 1. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pages.

  • National Geographic Society (NGS). 1983. Field guide to the birds of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.

  • Nicholson, C.P. 1997. Atlas of the breeding birds of Tennessee. The University of Tennessee Press. 426 pp.

  • Palmer, R. S. (editor). 1962. Handbook of North American birds. Vol. 1. Loons through flamingos. Yale University Press, New Haven. 567 pp.

  • Parker III, T. A., D. F. Stotz, and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases for neotropical birds. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

  • Peterson, R. T. 1980. A field guide to the birds of eastern and central North America. Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. 384 pages.

  • Powell, G.V.N. 1987. Habitat use by wading birds in a subtropical estuary: implications of hydrography. Auk 104:740-749.

  • Raffaele, H., J. Wiley, O. Garrido, A. Keith, and J. Raffaele. 1998. A guide to the birds of the West Indies. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 511 pp.

  • Ridgely, R. S. 2002. Distribution maps of South American birds. Unpublished.

  • Ridgely, R. S. and J. A. Gwynne, Jr. 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Panama. 2nd edition. Princeton University Press, Princeton, USA.

  • Root, T. 1988. Atlas of wintering North American birds: An analysis of Christmas Bird Count data. University of Chicago Press. 336 pp.

  • See SERO listing

  • Shields, M. A., and J. F. Parnell. 1986. Fish crow predation on eggs of the white ibis at Battery Island, North Carolina. Auk 103:531-539.

  • Sibley, D. A. 2000a. The Sibley guide to birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Smith, J. P. 1995. Foraging flights and habitat use of nesting wading birds (Ciconiiformes) at Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Colonial Waterbirds 18:139-158.

  • Spendelow, J. A. and S. R. Patton. 1988. National Atlas of Coastal Waterbird Colonies in the Contiguous United States: 1976-1982. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Report 88(5). x + 326 pp.

  • Stiles, F. G. and A. F. Skutch. 1989. A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA. 511 pp.

  • Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Zook, J. L. 2002. Distribution maps of the birds of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Unpublished.

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