image of a White Ibis

The White Ibis is now one of the most common birds in Florida.

If you live in Florida, or have ever been fortunate enough to visit this area, chances are you’ve seen a White Ibis. After a steady rise in population over the last few decades, the White Ibis is now one of the most commonly found birds in the southern United States, and can even frequently be found roaming suburban neighborhoods. In the past, the White Ibis was often referred to as the “Chokoloskee chicken” by Everglades locals, and was said to be delicious table fair. Today, the White Ibis is a protected species, and hunting or harming these gentle birds is highly frowned upon.

The White Ibis is the most common wading bird found in the Everglades National Park, and is often called the “curlew of the Everglades” due to its appearance, though it is actually not a member of the curlew family. The White Ibis is typically a medium-sized bird with long legs and a long, down-curved, orange bill. Small, immature birds are completely brown when they are born, but, over time, they slowly gain their pristine, white color and form black tips on their wings, though the black is usually only visible during flight. The White Ibis typically feeds on crab, shrimp, fish, and other crustaceans and small insects, though their classic foraging skills, as well as feeding from humans, has led them to seek food in more urban and suburban settings.

Because these birds are so incredibly common now, with some single colonies reaching populations of 30,000, they are quite easy to spot on an Everglades National Park boat tour. Some of the best birdwatching opportunities in all of the United States can be found on Everglades City airboat tours, and the White Ibis is only one of dozens, if not hundreds, of bird species that can be spotted in this area on a daily basis.