This is a pencil sketch I drew of a White-faced Ibis. He is a character in a book I’m working on. The ibis, Arco Iris, gets his power from the rainbow obsidian stone he wears. Sometimes if you draw a character, it helps you write about their personality and physical traits.
I recently took pictures of White-faced Ibis in a field near Paisley, Oregon. The field was full of blue camas and it gave the scene a kind of magical feeling.
When you think of ibis, you may think of ancient depictions of this bird found in Egypt, but there are three species in the United States. You can find Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, and White-faced Ibis in parts of North America, Central America, and South America.
Inlay depicting Thoth as the ibis with a maat feather. Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
The plumage of our local ibis looks black at first, but when you take a closer look, it’s iridescent. Their feathers catch the light as they plunge their long beaks into marshes and meadows in search of prey. They eat a variety of prey including insects, worms, and small fish. Ibis are particularly fond of crayfish.
When in breeding plumage, some of the White-faced Ibis’ feathers turn a bronze color, their legs turn pink, and a mask of pale white skin around their eyes appears. What better way to attract a mate than putting on a mask, pink leggings, and a bronze cape!
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