Wood Ibis (Tantalus Loculator Linn) a bird belonging, together with the white and glossy ibis (see Ibis), to the family tantalidoe, one of the grallatores. The genus tantalus has the very long bill much thickened at the base and curved downward at the tip; the nasal groove not continued beyond the nostrils, which are broad, pervious, and not surrounded by membrane; the head and neck entirely bare, the skin of the latter transversely rugose; the tibia more than half bare, and covered as well as the tarsus with hexagonal scales; the toes connected at the base by a membrane, and the outer lateral toe longer than the inner. The wood ibis is the only representative of the genus in the United States. It is showy and mainly white, the tail and quills of the wings being dark metallic green, and the face and head greenish blue; its total length is about 3½ ft., and the spread of its wings as much as 5 ft.; the bill, of a brownish horn color, and considerably curved toward the tip, is nearly 9 in. long, and at its base, where it rises high in the head, is 2 in. thick.

They inhabit the southern states, and breed in immense numbers, making their nests upon the tops of trees in cypress swamps; their breeding places are used for several years, and their deep nests made of small twigs lined neatly with the southern Tillandsia; they lay three whitish eggs, nearly 2½ by a little more than 1½ in.; the young are hatched in April. They commonly go singly or in pairs, feeding upon small fish, crawfish, and young alligators.

Wood Ibis (Tantalus loculator).

Wood Ibis (Tantalus loculator).