Fr: Ibis vert
Ang: Green Ibis
All: Grünibis
Esp: Ibis Verde
Ita: Ibis verde
Nd: Groene Ibis
Sd: grön ibis


Roger Ahlman
Pbase Galleries Peru and Ecuador

Didier Buysse
Vision d’Oiseaux

Ken Havard
My Bird Gallery & Flickr gallery 1 & Flickr gallery 2

Jean-Claude Jamoulle
A la rencontre des Oiseaux

William Price
PBase-tereksandpiper & Flickr William Price

Dubi Shapiro
Dubi Shapiro Photo Galleries

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD vol 1 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334105

A GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF MEXICO AND NORTHERN CENTRAL AMERICA by  Steve N. G. Howell, Sophie Webb - Oxford University Press - ISBN: 0198540124

A GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF COLOMBIA by Steven L. Hilty and William L. Brown - Princeton University Press – ISBN 069108372X

PORTRAITS D’OISEAUX GUYANAIS - Groupe d'étude et de protection des oiseaux en Guyane (GEPOG) - Ibis rouge éditions - ISBN: 2844501842

BIRDS OF PERU by Thomas S. Schulenberg, Douglas F. Stotz, Daniel F. Lane, John P. O’Neill, Theodore A. Parker III–Princeton University Press 2007 – ISBN: 978-0-691-13023-1  
BIRDS OF VENEZUELA by Steven L. Hilty – Ed. Christopher Helm – ISBN: 0713664185  

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

Birds of the World

Arthur Grosset's Birds (Arthur Grosset)

Peru Aves - Peru Birds

Birds of Bolivia

Planet of Birds

Green Ibis – courtship display

Colombia Birding Tour

Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre


Home page 

Summary cards


Green Ibis
Mesembrinibis cayennensis

Pelecaniformes Order – Threskiornithidae Family

The Green Ibis is resident in Central America from Honduras to Panama, and in South America to NE Argentina. It is the only member of the genus Mesembrinibis. It is sometimes known as Cayenne Ibis, because it was first described in 1789 by Johann Friedrich Gmelin, from a specimen collected in Cayenne in French Guiana.  
The Green Ibis is a stocky bird. The dark plumage may appear black, but in good light, it is bronze-green with some iridescent feathers on the hindneck.
It frequents a variety of wet habitats including swamps and edges of rivers and lakes. It forages by walking, taking insects and aquatic prey. This species is solitary nester, unlike various ibis species. The nest is a loose structure made with sticks placed high in tree and above or near water.
The Green Ibis is threatened by habitat loss through deforestation, but it may adapt to fragmentation and degradation of its usual habitats. But in spite of some decline, the Green Ibis is not globally threatened.

Length: 45-58 cm
Weight: 700-890 g

The Green Ibis adult has glossy, greenish-black plumage overall, making a very dark appearance. But in good light, several soft and subtle colours are visible with bronze-green gloss.
The upperwing is bronze-olive with greenish tones. Primaries and outer secondaries are steel blue like the rectrices.
The underparts are similar to upperparts but they may appear slightly darker.

The head is dull black, whereas hindneck and neck sides show glossy emerald green feathers.
The thick, downcurved bill is greenish. The eyes are brown with grey bare orbital skin. The short legs and feet are greenish.

Male and female have similar plumage but the female is slightly smaller than male.
The juvenile is much duller overall, with little gloss. Head and neck are sooty.

The Green Ibis has large range. It is found in Central America from E Honduras and E Costa Rica to Panama, and in South America in Colombia, and E of Andes from Venezuela and the Guianas, S through E Ecuador, E Peru, E Bolivia and Brazil to Paraguay, and extreme NE Argentina.

The Green Ibis frequents wet forest, gallery forest, swampy woods and thickets, muddy banks of forest swamps and rivers. It forages in open marshes and wet savannas near forested areas.
This species is able to adapt to modified habitats following deforestation, and it can be found in secondary forests.
It is visible up to 500/1,200 metres of elevation depending on the range.

The Green Ibis usual call is a series of mellow, rolling “co-roh…co-roh…co-roh…” often hear almost continuously at dawn and dusk.
When perched, the bird is quieter and the calls are less agitated. They are described as low rattles ending in soft whistle or an undulating, throaty whistle.

The Green Ibis feeds on various aquatic prey including insects (Orhtoptera, Homoptera and Coleoptera), amphibians, worms and reptiles.    
It usually feeds alone or in pairs, sometimes in small groups of 9-10 individuals.
It forages by probing in muddy and gravely areas, also in shallow water along wooded streams, ponds or lagoons. It walks while bobbing the head and probing deep into the mud thanks to the long, downcurved bill. It may feed by day and night.
It roosts in trees at forest edges.  

At the beginning of the breeding season, the Green Ibis usually performs some courtship displays at treetops. During this period, the bare parts are enhanced with the legs becoming metallic green while the throat becomes violet.
The displays occur at treetop. One of the birds engages in head-shaking, followed by the second bird. Then, both mates duet and give a soft, deep “brrr” call. The birds raise their necks vertically while the head feathers are erect. At the end of the duet, the pair performs again head-shaking and bumps their bills.
During this display, the gular pouch may be flared, revealing a bright blue cheek line. The courtship rituals end with mutual preening and stick sharing, but this behaviour is less common.
Prior to copulation, the male sweeps the bill back and forth while facing the female. During the copulation, the male often grabs the female’s bill and sometimes holds it for the duration of the mating. (Hancock et al. 1992).
The displays may also include a deep bowing by one bird (probably the male) while spreading wings and tail in order to become a “massive” bird.
The Green Ibis is monogamous and solitary nester.

The species is sedentary, but local movements may occur, probably related to food resources.
The Green Ibis flies with the neck outstretched, but the short legs do not extend beyond the tail. The flight is heavy, with fewer glides and jerkier wingbeats than other ibises.

The Green Ibis usually breeds during the rainy season, when the food resources are abundant. The nesting period occurs in June/July in the llanos of Venezuela, usually 1-2 months after onset of rains.
The nest is a loose structure made with sticks, usually built high in tree and often over water.

The female lays 2-4 deep olive-green eggs, with sometimes fine dark spots or lines at the larger end. The duration of the incubation is unknown. The young fledge 23-27 days after hatching, and remain around the nest for a few days, before to follow their parents to the foraging sites.

The Green Ibis has large range in which it is abundant.
The main threat is the deforestation of the Amazonian wet forest in which it is living. But the species is able to adapt to disturbed areas and fragmentation of the habitat.
The population is suspected to be declining, but the Green Ibis is not globally threatened and currently evaluated as Least Concern.  

Juvenile at nest