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Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis 
Scientific name:  Plegadis falcinellus Threskiornithidae
Conservation status in NSW: Not Listed
Commonwealth status: Not Listed


The Glossy Ibis is a small dark ibis that looks black in the distance. At close quarters the neck is reddish-brown and the body is a bronze-brown with a metallic iridescent sheen on the wings. The distinctive long, curved bill is olive-brown, the facial skin is blue-grey with a bordering white line that extends around the eyes. The eyes, legs and feet are brown.
Source: Curtis Hayne


The Glossy Ibis frequents swamps and lakes throughout much of the Australian mainland, but is most numerous in the north. It is a non-breeding visitor to Tasmania,  the south-west of Western Australia and our regional wetlands. 

Habitat & Ecology 

Unlike other species of ibis in Australia, the Glossy Ibis is unlikely to be seen foraging in rubbish tips or on farmland, instead preferring to probe the mud of shallow terrestrial wetlands in pursuit of aquatic invertebrates. 
The Glossy Ibis requires shallow water and mudflats, so is found in well-vegetated wetlands, floodplains, mangroves and ricefields. These Ibis feed on frogs, snails, aquatic insects and spiders in damp places. They feed by probing the water and mud with their long, curved bill.
The Glossy Ibis builds a platform nest of sticks, usually with a lining of aquatic plants, between the upright branches of trees or shrubs growing in water. Lignum bush and small wattle trees are a favorite for nesting in our region.  Glossy Ibis breed together with other ibises in waterbird colonies. The Narran Lakes, Macquarie Marshes and Gwydir Wetlands are important nesting sites for these waterbirds. 
Source: John Spencer/OEH


The loss of natural flows to key wetlands sites reduces the opportunity for these birds to find food and nesting habitats
Overgrazing and land clearing can reduce habitat for this species
Nest destruction during breeding by feral animals can cause chick loss
Insufficient flows into nesting sites during breeding can cause nest abandonment

Activities to assist this species 

Ensure natural flows to important wetland sites are maintained, particularly to breeding sites.  
Protect vegetation and habitat from over grazing and land clearing
Control feral animals in and around key wetlands and breeding sites. 
Source:  Curtis Hayne

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