Glossy Ibis Plagadis falcinellus
Alviso, Santa Clara County, California
15 May 2001
Joseph Morlan

Photos © May 2001 by Les Chibana and Don Ganton.
This morning I decided to try for the Glossy Ibis, found yesterday by Mike Rogers. I arrived about 8:00 am at the pond at the northeast corner of Lafayette and Hwy. 237. A flock of 10 White-faced Ibis was at the far east end, but no Glossy was evident. Upon hearing that an ibis had been seen at the other side of the pond, Bob Reiling located the Glossy Ibis in another flock of about 7 more White-faced Ibis. Here we got excellent close-up views through scopes. Many interested birders got to see the Glossy Ibis and photos were attempted by Les Chibana. I called the Northern California BirdBox to report the continued presence but found that Gary Deghi and others had seen it (along with 26 White-faced Ibis) about an hour earlier.

The following description is based on notes made while watching the bird:

An adult Plagadis ibis in full breeding plumage foraging in the shallow water. All had a graceful, long, decurved gray-colored bill, with a long nasal groove extending forward from the nostril. All were very dark rusty cinnamon in plumage, with shiny, iridescent pink and green on the wing coverts. Toes were partially webbed.

The Glossy Ibis differed from the many White-faced by its obvious powder-blue lore stripe extending across the forehead and connecting on either side. It also showed a narrower blue stripe from the lower portion of the eye to the bill. This contrasted with the White-faced Ibis which showed a white ring around the eye, connecting around red lore skin to meet the bill. The glossy Ibis had dark gray lore skin, instead of the bright red of the White-faced. Also the White-faced Ibis all had red eyes, while the Glossy Ibis's eye was dark. The legs also differed. The White-faced Ibis showed all red legs and feet. The Glossy Ibis, had grayish legs and feet with only the ankle (intertarsal joint) reddish.

The bird was relatively easy to pick out once it was located.

More photos by Les Chibana and further discussion can be found at:
Additional photos by Don Ganton have been posted at:

This is the first Glossy Ibis I have seen in California. Prior California records include a basic plumage adult photographed at Twentynine Palms, San Bernardino County 29-31 August 1999, another seen in the Imperial Valley 27 May 2000 and up to two birds at the south end of the Salton Sea 1-15 July 2000. At the time of this writing none of the prior records have been formally accepted by the California Bird Records Committee.