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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Glossy Ibis, Long-billed Dowitchers

Here are a few more photos I took while at the Space Coast Birding Festival. These Long-billed Dowitchers were at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Those very long bills enable them to feed at a deeper level in the water, where they poke the long bills into the mud to get tiny creatures. There is another shorebird species, called a Short-billed Dowitcher, which also has a long bill, but not as long as the Long-billed Dowitcher's. So maybe they should be called the Long-billed Dowitcher and these the Very Long-billed Dowitcher.

You can see why this is called a Glossy Ibis. When the sun shines on its plumage you can see those wonderful iridescent blue and green colors on the bronze plumage. This is an adult in winter plumage. The juvenile (Jul.-Nov.) plumage is browner with little iridescence. Use your The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America to age the birds you see, it has the most extensive clues to aging and sexing the birds. It's fun.

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