Andean Ibis Theristicus branickii Scientific name definitions

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


Systematics History

Theristicus branickii Berlepsch and Sztolcman, 1894, Ibis 6(23):404. Type locality given as "Peruvia alta—lacus Junin, et Maraynioc, Pariayacu" [= Maraynioc, Marcapomacocha Distrinct, Junín Region, Peru] (11).

While originally described as a separate species, and treated as such in early works (e.g., 12), Andean Ibis has often been treated as conspecific with Black-faced Ibis (Theristicus melanopis), where it is treated as a separate subspecies (e.g, 13, 14). Together, these two taxa have also sometimes been treated as conspecific with Buff-necked Ibis (Theristicus caudatus) under an expanded Theristicus caudatus (15). It is recognized as a distinct species here on the basis of morphometric, structural, and plumage differences, including its lack of a throat wattle, shorter bill, longer tail, its whitish versus rusty-buff patch on the upper belly, and the rufous-chestnut coloration onto the crown continuing on the face and upper neck (1). In addition to the morphological differences noted by Collar and Bird (1), ecological differences, as well as their interactions in locations where both Andean Ibis and Black-faced Ibis occur together (16, 17), further suggest that they are distinct species. In Chile and Peru where both occur together, flocks of the two species seem to maintain separation from each other, foraging some distance apart; further, when a single Andean Ibis was seen near a colony of Black-faced Ibis, there were aggressive interactions between the two species, suggesting potential reproductive isolation between the two (16).

Geographic Variation

Nothing known.



Related Species

Andean Ibis has not been included in any molecular phylogenetic studies, but it is presumably very closely related to both Black-faced Ibis and Buff-necked Ibis. In a phylogenetic study based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequence data, Black-faced Ibis and Buff-necked Ibis were found to be very closely related, and showed very little genetic divergence; it is likely that Andean Ibis is similarly closely related to these two species (18). Together, Black-faced Ibis and Buff-necked Ibis (likely including Andean Ibis) were found to be sister to Plumbeous Ibis (Theristicus caerulescens); these species formed a well-supported clade with Bare-faced Ibis (Phimosus infuscatus) (18).


None reported (19).


The English name Andean Ibis is related to the specialized habitat, in the high Andes. Locally known as "Bandurria de la puna" in Chile, "Bandurria acollarada andina" in Peru, and "Bandurria andina" in Ecuador.

Fossil History

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