Monday, February 25, 2013

North Carolina's third record of White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)

Prudence dictates that I should put a question mark at the end of this post title, especially with a tough ID call like this...

...but tell me this isn't a White-faced Ibis.

The red eye and pink facial skin is glaring.

The suspect was hanging out in a flooded field at the east end of Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde Co., NC in the company of about a dozen Glossy Ibises.  While superficially very similar (and apparently there is integradation between these species), in a scope from ~50 yards this bird stood out. 

Put the head away for a second and look at the leg color for example... pinkish-red on the White-faced and a cold gray on the Glossies.

Also the White-faced Ibis seemed to have slightly lighter-colored plumage and I noticed more tones of fuschia than in the darker Glossies.

This was pronounced enough so that even with the heads hidden you can tell which is the odd bird out (and which is the Boat-tailed Grackle). 

So I think I'll have to fill out some paperwork on this one for the NC Bird Records Committee.  Luckily the area where it was found opens up to the public for the season starting the Friday, so maybe some others will be able to see it.