The Enigmatic Glossy Ibis: A Comprehensive Examination


With its shimmering bottle-green wings and reddish-brown body, the Glossy Ibis captures the imagination of every bird lover. This bird’s elegance and striking colouration make it a popular subject for bird photos and bird image names. Belonging to the species Plegadis falcinellus, this mid-sized ibis is known for its nomadic tendencies and migratory behaviour. While it is a common sight in warm regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa, this bird has also found its way to the Americas. Especially in India, particularly in the western region, this bird has established itself as a resident species. This article offers an in-depth look at the Glossy Ibis’s features, habitat, and conservation status. This bird should be noticed in any bird sanctuary or birdlife sanctuary.

Table of the Bird

Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameGlossy Ibis
2Scientific namePlegadis falcinellus
3ColourReddish-brown and bottle-green
4Average length48–66 cm
5Average height59.4 cm (vertical)
6Type of birdMigratory
7Found in IndiaWestern India
8HabitatFreshwater wetlands
9IUCN StatusData Deficient

Features of the Bird


The Glossy Ibis generally has a body length ranging from 48 to 66 cm, averaging around 59.4 cm. Its wingspan can stretch from 80 to 105 cm. This makes it one of the mid-sized ibises, large enough to be easily spotted but compact enough to navigate the dense vegetation of its preferred habitats. With its significant length and impressive wingspan, this bird showcases majestic flights that often become prime subjects for bird pictures and photos.


When measured vertically, the Glossy Ibis stands around 59.4 cm tall. This height allows it to wade effortlessly through shallow waters, searching for food without disturbing the surface too much. Although it may seem like a delicate bird, its build is perfectly adapted to its lifestyle, making it a fascinating subject for those interested in bird migration and birdlife.

Running Speed

The Glossy Ibis is not mainly known as a wading bird for its running speed. Instead, it prefers to move gracefully through its habitat, carefully selecting its steps to minimize water disruption. This behaviour is fundamental when the bird is foraging, as a careful approach enables it to catch prey more easily. The Glossy Ibis’s moderate pace and deliberate movements make it a photogenic subject, often appearing in bird image names and PNG databases.


One of the most captivating features of the Glossy Ibis is its colour. Breeding adults boast reddish-brown bodies complemented by shiny, bottle-green wings. This vibrant colouration becomes even more dazzling when the bird is in flight, making it a favourite among bird lovers and photographers.

Habitat and Food of the Bird

  1. Freshwater Wetlands: The Glossy Ibis is commonly found in freshwater or brackish wetlands that have tall and dense stands of emergent vegetation like reeds and papyrus.
  1. Seasonal Preferences: In western India, the bird exhibits strong scale-dependent use of landscapes, favoring areas with more than 200 ha of wetlands during the summer.
  1. Foraging: The bird feeds in shallow water and relies mostly on aquatic invertebrates for its diet.
  1. Human Proximity: Interestingly, this ibis can also be found in sewage ponds, paddies, and irrigated farmland, especially in India.
  1. Adaptability: It shows a remarkable ability to adapt to different environments, which has helped it spread to different continents over time.

Nesting and Nurturing

The Glossy Ibis nest in low trees or bushes, often close to water bodies. Nesting often occurs in colonies, providing a beautiful spectacle for any bird lover visiting a bird sanctuary. These nests are carefully constructed using twigs and leaves, resembling an intricate birdhouse. The females usually lay 3-4 eggs, which both parents incubate. Upon hatching, the young ibises can fend for themselves, reducing the nurturing period for the parents.


The main threats to the Glossy Ibis include habitat destruction, pollution, and hunting. These threats have contributed to the bird’s fluctuating numbers, making its conservation an interest for many birdlife sanctuaries and conservationists.

IUCN Status and Conservation

The IUCN lists the Glossy Ibis as “Data Deficient,” indicating that more research is needed to determine its conservation status. Nevertheless, there are efforts from various bird sanctuaries and conservation organizations to protect this beautiful bird. These include habitat restoration, legal protections, and awareness-raising efforts.


The Glossy Ibis remains a bird of captivating beauty and ecological importance. It is a testament to nature’s ability to adapt and survive in various conditions. Whether you are a dedicated bird watcher or a casual bird lover, the Glossy Ibis is a species that commands attention. As a subject of ongoing research and conservation efforts, this bird holds a special place in bird sanctuaries and birdlife sanctuaries worldwide, making it a must-see for anyone interested in birdlife.

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