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Ibis ID help - Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico

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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 12:00   #1
martin.m
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Ibis ID help - Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico

Dear all, just joined the forum and thought I might ask for help regarding my old photo of ibis I just stumbled upon and find it a bit puzzling. It is from Villahermosa, Mexico (19 August 2018):

There was this all-brown, red-billed, red-faced ibis sitting among the White ibises. I was wondering whether it may be a juvenile of the same species, but all pictures I've seen so far show that these should have white belly and some white elsewhere on the body as well. Any ideas what this might be? Many thanks for help!
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 13:22   #2
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Welcome to birdforum Martin.
I've limited experience with White ibis, but from what can be seen of the bare parts, the intensity of the colour would suggest an adult rather than immature bird. As you say, it appear concolourous, with the belly also dark.
I wonder if it may be either an melanistic or possibly oiled adult?
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 14:12   #3
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Thanks, Daniel! Good point about the skin colour intensity. It certainly looked just like the other White ibis adults around, in every aspect other than the plumage colour :) Melanism was also a thing that crossed my mind - sounds feasible now. As does the oil, actually, given that oil spills are a major issue in the area's wetlands. Thanks!
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 14:46   #4
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The feathering on the back looks rather matted and in poor condition - I'd go with the oiling suggestion
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 15:03   #5
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I'd go with the oiling suggestion
Thanks! Poor thing :/
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 16:12   #6
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Can't see this as oil.....surely if a white bird is oiled enough to be turned completely black the feathers would be in a dire state - assume the bird flew into the tree it's on?
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 16:48   #7
martin.m
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Originally Posted by birdboybowley View Post
Can't see this as oil.....surely if a white bird is oiled enough to be turned completely black the feathers would be in a dire state - assume the bird flew into the tree it's on?
Fair point. Yes, it was high up the tree, so I suppose it arrived with the others to roost for the night.
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 23:31   #8
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I was thinking they do look in a fairly dire state!
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