Andean Ibis Theristicus branickii Scientific name definitions

Fernando Medrano and Peter Pyle
Version: 2.0 — Published May 12, 2023

Diet and Foraging


Main Foods Taken

Specific information is only available for chicks in Ecuador (29), which were fed small mammals (Sylvilagus andinus) and invertebrates, including moths (Lepidoptera), ground beetles (Carabidae), centipedes (Lithobiidae), snails (Gastropoda), and earthworms (Lumbricidae).

Microhabitat for Foraging

In one study in Ecuador, most foraging occurred in short grass or in cushion mires (bogs) (27).

Food Capture and Consumption

Birds foraged both by gleaning prey from the grass and ground as well as probing into the soil with their bills. In one study, mean foraging group size was 3.1 birds ± 0.2 (range 1–7 birds); in larger groups, individuals would either forage together in pairs or separated from other individuals by at least 30 m (27).


Major Food Items

There is very little information on the diet of the species. What is known comes from analysis of stomach contents of chicks in Ecuador (n = 2 individuals). From each chick, 60 and 81 prey items were counted, respectively. Prey identified were mostly invertebrates, including Noctuidae (Lepidoptera) larvae (53% of prey items, representing 2.17% of the biomass), adults (6% of prey items, and 1.04% of biomass) and larvae (11% of prey items, and 0.67% of biomass) of Lebia paramicola (Coleoptera; Carabidae), centipedes (Chilopoda; Lithobiidae; 1% of prey items, 0.01 % of the biomass), Prosobranchia snails (Hydrobiidae; Gastropoda; 4.3% of prey items, and 1.3% of biomass), earthworm eggs (Lumbricidae; Clitellata; 10% of individuals, and 0.1% of biomass), but one vertebrate, Sylvilagus andinus, was also identified (1% of prey items, and 10.12% of biomass; 29).

Quantitative Analysis

Information needed.

Food Selection and Storage

Information needed.

Nutrition and Energetics

Information needed.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Information needed.

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

Information needed.

Recommended Citation

Medrano, F. and P. Pyle (2023). Andean Ibis (Theristicus branickii), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.bkfibi2.02