White-faced Ibis near Cranberry Marsh in Whitby

This White-faced Ibis was in a small flooded pond beside O'Flaherty's Garden Centre on Victoria Street near Halls Road in Whitby on 5 November 2019. In the area were several other flooded fields where it had landed for a short while earlier in the day. Then it settled here for the afternoon, where it fed and appeared successful at finding food.


VIDEO: This rare vagrant White-faced Ibis found lots of invertebrates to eat in flooded fields.

The plumage glistened with an array of iridescent greens when it caught the sunlight. Whitby on 5 November 2019.


It preened and spread its wing several times. Whitby on 5 November 2019.


This profile shows pale cheek and neck and two white lines on foreneck, also close view of eye, facial skin and border around the eye. Whitby on 5 November 2019.


ID Marks for White-faced Ibis

Identification of adult White-faced Ibis depends on eye colour - red compared to the dark eye of adult Glossy Ibis. However the Whitby ibis is a first year bird in first winter (formative) plumage and the red eye has not yet fully developed. Its eye has pink tones as can be seen in the photo below. Some first winter White-faced Ibises have a red eye by December. In juvenile plumage both White-faced Ibis and Glossy have brown eyes. Kenn Kaufman in Advanced Birding and the White-face Ibis account in Birds of North America online say the molt from juvenile to first winter (formative) plumage begins shortly after leaving the nest, mid June to late September.

The Whitby ibis is in its first year/winter (formative) plumage. It has a brown head and neck with a pale cheek patch and white vertical patches on the foreneck. This pattern and coloration match the juvenile White-faced Ibis photo by Tom Johnson on 19 August 2016 in Arizona and posted on eBird and in the Macaulay Library. It is one of the White-faced Ibis identification photos in Cornell's series All About Birds. See photo below. Also Link to Cornell's All About Birds website, then scroll several photos to the juvenile: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/White-faced_Ibis/media-browser



Comparison Photo of Glossy Ibis

Photo above is a comparison shot of a first year Glossy Ibis at Port Hope on 29 November 2016. It shows how dark brown the head and neck are and it lacks the pale cheek patch. The eye is dark.


Link to Port Hope Glossy Ibis on 29 November 2019