Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Jorgensen and Silcock, "First Nesting Record and Status Review of the Glossy Ibis in Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (September 2015) 83(3).


Copyright 2015 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is believed to be a recent colonist from the Old World whose numbers have increased and range has expanded in North America over the past two centuries (Patten and Lasley 2000). Glossy Ibis range expansion has been described as involving periods of relative stability followed by periods of rapid increase (Patten and Lasley 2000). Prior to the 1980s, Glossy Ibis were primarily found in the southeastern United States and along the Atlantic Coast (Patten and Lasley 2000). In the mid to late 1980s, Glossy Ibis began to rapidly increase and expand into Texas. By the early 1990s they were increasingly reported in the Great Plains (Thompson et a1. 20 11), particularly along the front range of Colorado and New Mexico (Patten and Lasley 2000).

In Nebraska, the first documented occurrence of Glossy Ibis was a single adult with 28 White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) at Wilkins Waterfowl Production Area (WPA), Fillmore County, 24 April 1999 (Jorgensen 2001). Since the initial record, the number of reports of Glossy Ibis has increased. Glossy Ibis status was elevated from accidental to casual by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee (NOURC) in 2005 (Brogie 2005). Only a few years later in 2014, its status was elevated again from casual to regular and NOURC no longer sought documentation for sightings (Brogie 2014). In 2015, Jorgensen observed this species nesting in the Rainwater Basin. Given the recent observation of nesting, the rapid increase in annual observations, along with field identification challenges as a result of similarity to and hybridization with the White-faced Ibis, the status of the Glossy Ibis in Nebraska is in need of clarification. Here, we provide observational details about the first confirmed nesting by the species in Nebraska, review all reports of Glossy Ibis and apparent Glossy × White-faced Ibis hybrids, and comment on this species’ overall status in the state.