American White Ibis

Almost the exact counterpart of the Scarlet Ibis, except as regards color, is the White Ibis (G. Alba), which has the plumage pure white throughout instead of scarlet, and the tips of the quills glossy greenish black instead of blue-black. Its center of distribution is tropical America, extending north, regularly, to North Carolina, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Lower California, while in winter it is found from the Gulf southward. The White Ibis is locally abundant at many points along the coast, where they are seen in flocks of six or eight to many hundreds. They apparently prefer fresh-water regions, especially during the breeding season, but are not infrequently found associated with various Herons, Pelicans, Cormorants, etc., along brackish water lagoons. They nest in communities often of vast extent, placing the nests in trees, bushes, and reedy marshes, Audubon recording the presence of forty-seven of their nests in a wild-plum tree near Cape Sable, Florida, while Scott found them in great abundance on Lake Butler, as well as at other points in Florida, stating that the nests arc similar to those of the smaller Herons, “except that they were lined with leaves and were more carefully built.” Four eggs is the usual complement, these being pale greenish white spotted with chocolate-brown, especially at the larger end, and averaging two and twenty-five hundredths by one and fifty hundredths inches.