Andean Ibis Theristicus branickii Scientific name definitions

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


Habitat in Breeding Range

During the breeding season, it inhabits the upland puna and paramo in the Andes, usually between 3,700–4,500 m (26, 27, 28). The paramo habitat in Ecuador where Andean Ibis has been studied ranges between 4,000–4,300 m and is described as flat plain or gently sloping. Paramo in Ecuador is vegetated with tussock grasses, usually with a maximum height of 30 cm (occasionally up to 60 cm), or with cushions plants in wetter areas (27). The most common tussock grass species in these habitats include Calamagrostis intermedia and Stipa [Jarava] ichu, while dominate cushion plant species include Plantago rigida, Azorella sp., Disterigma sp., and Distichia muscoides; in areas with heavy grazing pressure from livestock, shorter grasses are more common, including Festuca sp., Agrostis sp., and Paspalum sp. (27, 28). In addition to the grasses and cushion plants, other common herbaceous plant species that characterize this habitat include Wernia [Rockhausenia] nubigena, Hypochaeris sp., Lachemilla sp., Geranium sp., and Gentiana sedifolia (27). Some woody vegetation (usually under 2 m in height) also grows at some lower elevation paramo sites, including Chuquiraga jussieui, Gynoxys cuicochensis, Diplostephium ericoides, and Valeriana microphylla (27). These habitats have a mean temperature of 6–10ºC, with up to 3,000 mm of rainfall per year (27). All documented nests have been found on cliff faces (28; Allasi Condo, eBird; Saire and Conori, eBird; see Nest Site).

Habitat in Nonbreeding Range

Little known, but uses lowland valleys in the Atacama Desert in Peru and Chile, possibly during a migration (24). However, it seems the colonization of these areas is recent, and potentially is related with the suitability of the agricultural habitats for this species, instead of the original shrublands. More information is 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