Family Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Least Concern

White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)


French: Ibis à face blanche German: Brillensichler Spanish: Morito cariblanco

Numenius chihi


, 1817,

Paraguay and campos of Buenos Aires, Argentina


Closely related to P. falcinellus, of which formerly considered a race; hybrids reported in captivity, but not known under natural conditions in narrow zone of overlap (in S Louisiana, Alabama and possibly E Texas, USA). Monotypic.


SW Canada (S Alberta), and W, C & S USA (including coastal Louisiana and Texas) S down both coasts of Mexico, wintering S to N Central America. Also resident in SC South America from SE Bolivia, Paraguay and S Brazil to NC Chile, NC Argentina and Uruguay.

Descriptive notes

46–66 cm; male 563–807 g, female 433–677 g. Some have more extensive white around pink-red facial skin than illustrated. Legs redder than in P.... read more


Flight call is a rapid series of nasal quacks “nrah..nrah..nrah..”, higher-pitched and more nasal... read more


Mainly frequents freshwater marshes, ponds, ricefields, flooded pastures, irrigated... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects, especially larvae of horseflies and dragonflies, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets; also crayfish, crabs and other... read more


Spring breeder in N & S of range, laying Apr–Jun in Texas, May–Jul in California; nesting recorded in Nov in SE Brazil and... read more


Considered resident in Neotropical portion of range, though irregular local movements occur on a... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally abundant in South America, where it is commonest ibis, with a population estimated at one million pairs in 2006. Uncommon to... read more

Recommended citation

Matheu, E., del Hoyo, J., Garcia, E.F.J., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi). 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 16 December 2019).