GLOSSY IBIS

Plegadis falcinellus

Status:  Uncommon regular spring migrant statewide. Rare casual summer visitor west and southeast. Rare casual breeder Rainwater Basin. Rare casual fall migrant east and central.

Documentation:  Photograph: 15 Apr 2005 Harvard WPA, Clay Co (Brogie 2006).

Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized.

Presumed hybrids with White-faced Ibis (P. chihi) occur with some regularity on the Great Plains, complicating identification (Arterburn and Grzybowski 2003). Seven such birds have been reported in Nebraska since the first was photographed in Fillmore Co 21-22 May 2004 (Silcock 2004). Hybrid ibises may be under-reported as observers tend to study these birds less critically as time passes, but the number of hybrid ibises in Nebraska and elsewhere nevertheless has not kept pace with increases in reports of Glossy Ibis, suggesting hybridization may only occur infrequently (Jorgensen and Silcock 2015).

Changes Since 2000: Glossy Ibis has undergone one of the greatest increases in numbers of any species occurring in Nebraska in the years since 2000 (Jorgensen and Silcock 2015). The first state record was as recent as 1999, the 4th in 2005, but through 2015 there have been some 73 additional records (Jorgensen and Silcock 2015).

Spring:  Apr 15, 17, 17 <<<>>> 26 May, 1, 2 Jun

This species is almost always associated with groups of and outnumbered by White-faced Ibis, during both migration and the breeding season. The vast majority of reports are in spring, when this species is easiest to identify relative to White-faced Ibis.

Summer: All summer reports of Glossy Ibis have been from the Rainwater Basin and the Sandhills. Jorgensen and Dinsmore (2005) and Jorgensen and Silcock (2015) recently reviewed the status of the species in Nebraska and suggested that its apparently limited distribution was probably linked to the distribution of observers; Glossy Ibis likely occurs regularly in other parts of the state as well, along with White-faced Ibises.

Although breeding had been suspected a few times when this species had been observed within breeding colonies of White-faced Ibis, proof was lacking until 2015, when three nests tended by adults were photographed at Harvard WPA 7 Jul (Jorgensen and Silcock 2015), the first confirmed breeding record for the state. Two prior reports were suggestive of breeding, but confirming evidence was not obtained: two adults were with 70+ White-faced Ibises at Harvard WPA 14-20 Jul 2001 (Jorgensen 2003, 2012, Dinsmore 2001), and two were with White-faced Ibises 12-14 Jun 2008 at Harvard WPA.

Additional summer reports are of an adult in Fillmore Co 24 and 30 Jun 2010 (Brogie 2011), singles in 2011 at Kissinger Basin WMA, Clay Co 15 Aug and 18 Jul in Phelps Co, sightings of probably one individual at Harvard WPA 14 May and 20 Jun 2013 (Brogie 2014), and an adult at Harvard WPA 20 Jul 2013 (Brogie 2014).

Fall: There are few reports unrelated to the summer reports above; individual Glossy Ibises in fall are difficult to identify in the field. The only fall reports are of one at Straightwater WMA, Seward Co 9-16 Aug 2008, a single in adult plumage well-studied at Hastings, Adams Co 19 Aug 2005, two in the eastern Rainwater Basin 24 Aug 2008, two adults at Jack Sinn WMA, Lancaster Co 21 Aug 2013 (Brogie 2014), and an immature photographed at Tamora WPA, Seward Co 8 Sep 2017.

Comments: There are 11 additional reports in the literature, none convincingly documented. At least two are suggestive of this species, but are dated 1946 and 1964, well before the major expansion into the Great Plains began in the 1980s. Bruner et al (1904) listed three specimens attributed to Glossy Ibis, but Swenk (1918) noted that these immature birds could not be identified to species and dropped Glossy Ibis from the state list.

Glossy Ibis arrived in North America from the Old World in the early 1800s, but it was not until the 1940s that rapid range expansion occurred north along the Atlantic Coast and west to Louisiana; in the 1980s, expansion occurred into Texas, where the first record was in 1983, and then northward in the Great Plains (Patten and Lasley 2000). Nebraska’s first state record was of an adult with a flock of 28 White-faced Ibis 24 Apr 1999 (Jorgensen 2012); the first Wyoming record was in 1992 (Faulkner 2010).

Abbreviations

WMA: Wildlife Management Area (State)
WPA: Waterfowl Production Area (Federal)

Literature Cited

Arterburn, J.W., and J.A. Grzybowski. 2003. Hybridization between Glossy and White-faced Ibises. North American Birds 57: 136-139.

Brogie, M.A. 2006. 2005 (17th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 74: 69-74.

Brogie, M.A. 2011. 2010 (22nd) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 79: 99-111.

Brogie, M.A. 2014. 2013 (25th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 82: 131-146.

Bruner, L., R.H. Wolcott, and M.H. Swenk. 1904. A preliminary review of the birds of Nebraska, with synopses. Klopp and Bartlett, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

Dinsmore, S.J. 2001. The Changing Seasons. North American Birds 55: 398-405.

Faulkner, D.W. 2010. Birds of Wyoming. Roberts and Company, Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA.

Jorgensen, J.G. 2003. 2001 (13th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 71: 97-102.

Jorgensen, J.G. 2012.  Birds of the Rainwater Basin, Nebraska.  Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

Jorgensen, J.G., and S.J. Dinsmore. 2005. An Assessment of the Status of White-Faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) in the Great Plains. Natural Resource Ecology and Management Publications. Paper 45.

Jorgensen, J.G., and W.R. Silcock. 2015. First Nesting Record and Status Review of the Glossy Ibis in Nebraska. NBR 83: 139-149.

Patten, M.A., and G.W. Lasley. 2000. Range Expansion of the Glossy Ibis in North America. North American Birds 54: 241-247.

Silcock, W.R. 2004. Spring Field Report, March-May 2004. NBR 72: 38-58.

Swenk, M.H. 1918. Revisory notes on the birds of Nebraska. Wilson Bulletin 30: 112-117.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2017. Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), Version 1.0. In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org


Birds of Nebraska – Online