Andean Ibis, Emblematic Bird

They choose land plots with neatly mown humid grass within the urban area. They certainly are a lively ornament.
The Andean Ibis are birds of extreme beauty that walk wearily amid humid environments. They belong in the scene of San Martín de los Andes and they have even been chosen as its honorary birds.

We first saw the Andean Ibis during our visits to Patagonia but it was not until we checked-in at an inn in San Martín that we took notice of their peculiar features. We saw these birds wandering around the lawn, flirting with one another and soaring without any worries about the Homo sapiens.

Their body is covered with overlaying feathers of different colors that glow as they move around. Several shades of grey, the prevailing color, cover the wings and chest. The head and neck are fairer, usually white and cinnamon. Their red eyes and their long curvy beak stand out.

They always go around in pairs, threesomes or larger numbers. We noticed they enjoy pecking at the humid ground in search of worms and insects, which are their basic diet. They may spend a long while walking around searching as they produce a strong harsh sound they apparently use to communicate.
  • Bird symbol of the city

    Bird symbol of the city

  • The size of its wings

    The size of its wings

  • Do not go unnoticed

    Do not go unnoticed

  • They seemed to spy on us

    They seemed to spy on us

  • Its imposing presence

    Its imposing presence

  • Choose the terrain with smooth and well-watered lawn

    Choose the terrain with smooth and well-watered lawn

When they resolve to leave the ground, they do not go unnoticed. The size of their wings lets them soar and get lost in the sky in a few minutes. They do not go too far away, as they nestle in nearby trees. In turn, when they land, their gliding is elegant and accurate.

We did some research and felt impressed by our findings. The community of San Martín de los Andes has voted for the Andean Ibis to become the emblematic bird of the city, leaving the kingfisher, the humming-bird, the woodpecker and others behind.

Every morning, we longed for these winged creatures to appear in the garden. They had delighted us so much that we already felt familiar with them. We were surprised to see them standing on top of the roofs, from where they seemed to spy on us, probably watching for the best green grounds. An imposing presence, indeed.

Mónica Pons / Eduardo Epifanio

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