A while ago I shared photographs from our 2016 explorations of this visitor, and understandably at the time I was very proud of the shots I had taken. Then on 8th March that all changed! The first shots were nothing special as you can see above, but then they decide to get a little bit closer and the light was just perfect.
It is a Plegadis falcinellus, and we now see one or two most times we visit one of the local lagoons and so it would appear that at least a few are visiting more frequently. If you want to sure of a sighting however, and to see large flocks then it is to the north of Portugal you must head. One of the best places apparently to see them is in the Sado Estuary in Alentejo, and they are also a regular sight in the Tagus. Their Portuguese name is Íbis-preta, which translates as Black Ibis in English. In flight they certainly do look black, however as you can see from my photographs they are actually a gorgeous chestnut brown almost bronze. And in the right light they are a very colourful bird with shades of green, purple and blue.
We’ve not heard their call yet here in the Algarve, but if you fancy hearing their ‘croak’ then do listen to the short recording below. You’ll also get to discover a little bit more about them as David Attenborough hosts this Radio Four podcast.