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A photo of a Andean Ibis (Theristicus branickii)
Andean Ibis

Andean Ibis

Theristicus branickii

The Andean ibis, a member of the Threskiornithidae family, is a bird of notable stature, reaching a length of approximately 75 centimeters. It presents a striking appearance with its buffish head, neck, and lower chest. The crown and nape boast a vibrant cinnamon hue, while the upperparts and chest-band, which may be incomplete, are a muted grey. The belly and flight feathers contrast in black, and the wing-coverts are a subtle whitish tone, blending with the grey upperparts without stark contrast.

Identification Tips

Distinguishing features of the Andean ibis include a smaller throat-wattle and a shorter bill compared to its relative, the black-faced ibis. The wing-coverts are greyer, the lower chest is paler, and the cinnamon on the crown and nape is more pronounced and extensive. The bill, throat-wattle, and the bare skin surrounding the eyes are blackish, while the legs are a vivid red.

Habitat

This species favors the grasslands and fields, where it can be observed foraging and roaming.

Distribution

The Andean ibis is endemic to the Andean highlands, with its range spanning altitudes of 3,000 to 5,000 meters in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. It is generally an uncommon sight and was once found in Lauca, in the far northern reaches of Chile.

Behaviour

The Andean ibis is a bird that is not frequently encountered, suggesting a preference for a solitary or discreet lifestyle within its high-altitude range.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Andean ibis as Near Threatened, indicating that the species faces threats that could lead to its vulnerability in the near future. Conservation efforts are essential to ensure the survival of this unique bird.

In this guide, we have explored the Andean ibis, a bird whose presence graces the high-altitude landscapes of South America. Observers are encouraged to cherish any sighting of this near-threatened species, whose subtle beauty and distinct characteristics make it a remarkable subject for study and admiration.

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Andean Ibis on Birda

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