White-faced Ibis

Scientific Name: Plegadis chihi

White-faced ibis | USFWS
White-faced ibis | USFWS


These wading birds inhabit freshwater marshes and swamps where they can hunt for small fish, amphibians and insects. They are found widely throughout the western United States.

Refuges where the white-faced ibis is found:


Pollution and habitat loss have taken their toll on the white-faced ibis. The bird’s numbers declined significantly in the 1960s and 1970s in the wake of DDT contamination and habitat destruction. Inland populations of white-faced ibis have rebounded somewhat in the past two decades because of the banning of DDT and improved habitat management. Coastal populations have continued to decline, however, perhaps due to the use of pesticides in rice farming. The white-faced ibis is being studied as a possible candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.


The white-faced ibis is a dark wading bird with a long bill and beautiful coloring. Adults have brown plumage with metallic purple highlights on the back and shoulders and bronze and green tints on the wings and tail. Although they are not large birds, they do have an impressive three-foot-long wingspan.

White-faced Ibis, Mark Bartosik
White-faced Ibis | Mark Bartosik

What NWRA is doing:

Beyond the Boundaries: Bear River Watershed

Help us protect the Bear River Watershed, a river ecosystem that is home for white-faced ibis and many other species. The Bear River flows in a great arc from Utah, through Wyoming and Idaho, and eventually feeds into the Great Salt Lake. Along its 500-mile route, the Bear River flows through three national wildlife refuges, and sustains crucial habitats for a wide variety of birds. NWRA is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Beyond the Boundaries: Bear River Watershed project to conserve these crucial habitats and protect wildlife like the white-faced ibis. Learn more.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/wildlife/birds/white-faced-ibis/