Louisiana birding with the White Ibis


My, what a large beak you have! You probably recognize the White Ibis by its trademark long beak that it uses to look for food in the mud.

One of the reasons that you can find so many birds in the relatively small area that comprises Louisiana’s coastline is that this is the southernmost point of two paths that are frequently taken by groups of birds as they migrate south during the winter months. As a result, more than half of the birds in the country either live in this region or spend time here as a part of their migration.

Here is what you should know about the White Ibis:

-          The White Ibis is a fairly large bird, about 2 feet in height and with a wingspan of up to three feet.

-          As the name indicates, this bird’s body is almost entirely white in color. However, there are some black feathers at the tips of the wings and its long bill is red-orange in color.

-          Not just for looks: the long bill of the White Ibis is used in feeding to look for crabs and crayfish in the mud while moving through shallow waters.

-          White Ibis flocks can also include other wading birds, especially when breeding.

-          These birds build platform nests, often in trees or shrubs, to keep their eggs and chicks safe from predators.

-          The White Ibis is a team player. After rustling up food by poking around with their long beaks, other birds come after and catch prey that has been disturbed by the White Ibis.

-          Like other birds, including the American White Pelican, the White Ibis parents work together to build nests, incubate the eggs, and feed their young.

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