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Black-faced Ibis Theristicus melanopis

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at:

Taxonomic note

Theristicus melanopis and T. branickii (del Hoyo et al. 2013) were previously lumped as T. melanopis following SACC (2005), and before then were split as T. melanopis and T. branickii following  Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Distribution and population
This taxon consists of two subspecies: branickii occurs in the highlands of Ecuador, Peru, northern Chile and north-west Bolivia, and is a year-round resident. Melanopis occurs in southern Chile and Argentina, with an isolated population in coastal Peru, and the southern Chile and Argentina populations migrate in the non-breeding season to the Argentine pampas.

Population justification
Although the species has a large global population estimated to be 25,000-100,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), subspecies branickii is described as 'uncommon and very local' throughout its range (Matheu and del Hoyo 1992).

Trend justification
The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Matheu, E.; del Hoyo, J. 1992. Family Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 472-506. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Wetland International - China Office. 2006. Relict Gull surveys in Hongjianao, Shaanxi Province. Newsletter of China Ornithological Society 15(2): 29.

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Temple, H.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Theristicus melanopis. Downloaded from on 10/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

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To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Black-faced ibis (Theristicus melanopis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Threskiornithidae (Ibises and spoonbills)
Species name author (Gmelin, 1789)
Population size 25000-100000 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,530,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species