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Glossy Ibis | Plegadis falcinellus

The Glossy Ibis is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Threskiornithidae bird family group which includes birds such as Ibises, Spoonbills.

The description for the Glossy Ibis (Latin name Plegadis falcinellus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Plegadis falcinellus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 93 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 607. You will find a picture of the Glossy Ibis on page 593.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Glossy Ibis between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Glossy Ibis is known in Afrikaans as Glansibis.

The Glossy Ibis has a height of 66 cms and weighs around 650 gms. The head is coloured chestnut while the bill is coloured olive. The Plegadis falcinellus has a chestnut coloured throat, olive legs and a chestnut coloured back. The eyes are hazel.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is chestnut

Eyes are hazel

Bill is olive

Legs are olive

Throat is chestnut

Back is chestnut

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Glossy Ibis strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Glossy Ibis uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Glossy Ibis is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured blue.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The Glossy Ibis is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

You can see the Glossy Ibis bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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