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Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis

  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Family: Threskiornithidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Donna Molfetto


  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Green Ibis
eBird range map for Green Ibis

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

This bird is found throughout northern South America, as far south as northern Argentina, and north into southern Central America, as far north as eastern Honduras (Marcus 1983) and Nicaragua (Martínez-Sánchez and Will 2010).

Distribution outside the Americas

This bird is not found outside the Americas.


Across most of its range, the Green Ibis occurs in flooded, swampy and gallery forests, and at the margins of forested lakes (Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Parker et al. 1996, Hilty 2003, Schulenberg et al. 2007). Also utilizes overgrown coffee plantations (Haverschmidt 1968). During the wet season (May-November), the Green Ibis can be found in pantanal habitats, but comes out to the llanos during the dry season (November-August) (Hancock et al. 1992).

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

Two fossils of this species from the Upper Pliocene were uncovered in Meade County, Kansas (Collins 1964).  The first fossil was an upper mandible, attributed to this species because it lacks the lateral swelling near the tip common to all other species except Pseudibis, which today is found in Asia (Collins 1964).  The mandible was further distinguished from similar species, such as the Buff-necked Ibis (Theristicus), by the midventral groove that ended six mm from the tip, whereas the midventral groove of the Buff-necked Ibis ends fifteen mm from the tip (Collins 1964).  The second fossil was an unusually stocky coracoid, attributed to this species by a distinctively depressed outer surface (Collins 1964).

Recommended Citation

Molfetto, D. (2011). Green Ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.