ibis, common name for wading birds with long, slender, decurved bills, found in the warmer regions of both hemispheres. The body is usually about 2 ft (61 cm) long. Most ibises nest in colonies. They feed in ponds, lakes, and brackish marshes on fish and other aquatic animals. The sacred ibis of ancient Egypt, Threskiornis aethiopica, a white and black bird, no longer frequents the Nile basin, although it inhabits other parts of Africa. In the southern part of North America are found the white ibis, Eudocimus albus; the white-faced and eastern glossy ibises, Plegadis falcinellus; and a bird that was formerly called the wood ibis, which is really a stork. The scarlet ibis of South America, E. ruber, is occasionally seen in the S United States. Ibises are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Ciconiiformes, family Threskiornithidae.

Any of about 20 species of medium-sized wading birds (subfamily Threskiornithinae) of the same family as the spoonbills. Ibises are found in all warm regions except on South Pacific islands. They wade in shallow lagoons, lakes, bays, and marshes, using their slender, down-curved bill to feed on small fishes and soft mollusks. Species range from 22 to 30 in. (55–75 cm) long. Ibises fly with neck and legs extended, alternately flapping and sailing. They usually breed in vast colonies.

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The ibises (pronounced /ˈaɪbɪsɪz/) are a group of long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae. They all have long down curved bills, and usually feed as a group, probing mud for food items, usually crustaceans. Most species nest in trees, often with spoonbills or herons.

The word ibis comes from Greek, originally borrowed from Ancient Egyptian hîb.


The Sacred Ibis was an object of religious veneration in ancient Egypt, particularly associated with the god, Thoth. At the town of Hermopolis, ibises were reared specifically for sacrificial purposes and in the Serapeum at Saqqara, archaeologists found the mummies of one and a half million ibises and hundreds of thousands of falcons.

Species in taxonomic order



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