Family Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Least Concern

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)


French: Ibis falcinelle German: Sichler Spanish: Morito común

Tantalus Falcinellus


, 1766,

“Austria, Italia” = Neusiedler See, Lower Austria


Closely related to P. chihi, which was formerly considered a race of present species; hybrids reported in captivity, but not known under natural conditions in narrow zone of overlap (S Louisiana, USA). Populations of Philippines, Indonesia and Australia have been separated as race peregrinus, but recent studies show that differences are not significant. Monotypic.


Wide discontinuous breeding distribution from S Europe, Africa and Madagascar (also Agalega in W Indian Ocean) to C & S Asia, Philippines, Sulawesi and Java; S New Guinea and Australia (except arid interior); also Atlantic coast of North America and West Indies to NC Venezuela. Occurs more widely as a vagrant.

Descriptive notes

48·5–66 cm; 350–840 g; wingspan 80–95 cm. Leg colour varies from very dark brown to olive-grey; bill colour also variable, grey or brownish. Differs... read more


Usually silent away from breeding colonies. In flight, may utter low-pitched grunts “graa..graa..... read more


Shallow lakes, swamps, lagoons, sewage ponds, rivers, floodplains, wet meadows, ricefields and... read more

Food and feeding

Diet comprises mainly adult and larval insects, including aquatic beetles, boatmen, dragonflies, flies, grasshoppers, crickets and... read more


In Spain principal colonies, at Doñana, generally occupied in early Apr and young fledge in mid Jun, but layingcan be as late as mid... read more


Migratory and dispersive, notoriously nomadic. Post-breeding dispersal of adults and young, often... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Regionally abundant. Suffered a marked decline and range contraction in W Palearctic during 20th century and by 1980s the European... read more

Recommended citation

Matheu, E., del Hoyo, J., Kirwan, G.M., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2019). Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus). 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 10 December 2019).