Family Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Least Concern

Black-faced Ibis (Theristicus melanopis)


French: Ibis à face noire German: Schwarzzügelibis Spanish: Bandurria acollarada austral

Tantalus melanopis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

“in insula novi anni” = New Year’s Island, near Staten Island, Argentina


Formerly, with T. branickii, considered a race of T. caudatus; specific separation from T. branickii recently demonstrated#R, being based on rufous-chestnut of crown forming a distinct cap and not continuing smudgily onto face and upper neck (2); presence of a throat wattle (3); rusty-buff vs whitish patch on upper belly (2); narrower belly patch (ns[2]); longer bill (2); and shorter tail (2). Monotypic.


S Chile and S Argentina, migrating outside breeding season to N Argentina; isolated population in coastal Peru.

Descriptive notes

71–76 cm. Lacks white on wing; different proportions from otherwise similar T. caudatus. Immature has faint dusky streaks on neck, and scalloped wing-coverts,... read more


Quite vocal. Main call a loud double or triple cackle “kha-keek-kek”, repeated at intervals (... read more


Open country in fields, meadows, pastures, ploughed and cultivated fields, damp valleys in places... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes insects, worms, frogs, salamanders and occasionally rodents. Large quantities of fossorial insect larvae and of marine... read more


Lays Sept–Mar in C Peru, Sept–Dec in S Chile, Argentine Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Colonial, sometimes with Black-... read more


Southern populations of Chile and Argentina migrate to pampas in N Argentina. Breeding... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Population not known precisely but is estimated at > 25,000 birds. Common in S Chile and S Argentina, but uncommon to rare in... read more

Recommended citation

Matheu, E., del Hoyo, J., Garcia, E.F.J., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Black-faced Ibis (Theristicus melanopis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).