White-faced Ibis
(Plegadis chihi)


Picture of bird
© Tony Battiste
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

In Canada, the White-faced Ibis is at the northern edge of its breeding range, extending into Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Sightings were first reported in the Prairies in 1941. It expanded its range throughout the Canadian Prairies in the mid-1970s, with Alberta hosting the greatest frequency of observations of breeding birds. Despite the fact that the species is not yet well monitored by national-level surveys, its population appears to have increased since 1970. In recent years, breeding was confirmed in Manitoba in 2005-2007 (Bazin and Artuso 2006, Bazin 2008) and in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2006 and 2007 (Beyersbergen 2008, Beyersbergen et al. 2009). Since then, the species’ range has expanded quite rapidly north; permanent colonies are now established on lakes in prairie and parkland habitats.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Imperiled2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge IncreaseHighData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada500 - 1,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

Conservation concerns specific to Canadian birds have not been identified, but as with many waterbirds, human impacts on wetlands are likely the most important threat to White-faced Ibis populations (Ryder and Manry 1994). For instance, water diversion for agriculture or development, as well as other disturbance of wetland habitats, can increase mortality of eggs and young, and may result in abandonment of colony sites.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type