African spoonbill Platalea alba, photographed by Callie de Wet.

Belongs within: Aequornithia.

The Threskiornithidae, ibises and spoonbills, are long-legged and -billed wading birds that generally feed on small invertebrates. Synapomorphies of the group include a schizorhinal beak with the proximal part of the maxilla dorsoventrally high below the narial openings, and at least three thoracic vertebrae fused to a notarium (Mayr 2002). Previous authors have recognised the ibises, with downcurved bills, as a separate subfamily (Threskiornithinae) from the spoonbills (Plataleinae) with straight and distinctly spatulate bills; however, the former may be paraphyletic to the latter. The Middle Eocene Rhynchaeites messelensis has a decurved beak like modern ibises but differs from crown-group threskiornithids in its relatively short tarsometatarsus and deeply excavated facies articularis scapularis on the coracoid (Mayr 2002).

The Old World spoonbills of the genus Platalea are mostly white in colouration whereas the roseate spoonbill Ajaja ajaja of the Americas is extensively coloured with pink. Among the ibises, the type genus Threskiornis includes the sacred ibises, a cluster of species with white plumage and featherless black heads and necks (T. aethiopicus, T. bernieri, T. melanocephalus and T. molucca). Authors differ on whether these should be treated as separate species or geographic races of a single species. The glossy ibises of the genus Plegadis have largely reddish-brown bodies and green wings.

<==Threskiornithidae [Ibididae, Ibidinae, Plataleidae, Plegadidae, Threskiornithes, Threskiornithoidea]
    |--Rhynchaeites Wittich 1899 JM14, Ml02 [incl. Plumumida Hoch 1980 Ml02; Rhychaeitinae]
    |    `--*R. messelensis Wittich 1898 Ml02, M05 [incl. *Plumumida lutetialis Hoch 1980 Ml02]
    `--Threskiornithinae [Plataleinae] Ma02
         |--‘Platalea’ minor Temminch & Schlegel 1849 BKB15, I92
         `--+--+--Eudocimus Wagler 1832 BKB15, B94 [Eudociminae]
            |  |    |--E. albus BKB15 [=Guara alba RN72a, Ibis albus B94]
            |  |    `--E. ruber BKB15 [=Guara rubra RN72a, Ibis rubra B66, I. rubus B94]
            |  `--Theristicus BKB15
            |       |--T. caerulescens BKB15
            |       |--T. caudatus BKB15
            |       `--T. hagedash K08
            `--+--+--‘Theristicus’ melanopis BKB15
               |  `--+--Phimosus Wagler 1832 BKB15, B94 [Phimosinae]
               |     |    `--P. infuscatus BKB15
               |     `--Geronticus Wagler 1832 JT12, Ml02 [Geronticinae]
               |          |--G. apelex Olson 1985 B93
               |          |--G. calvus JT12
               |          |--G. eremita (Linnaeus 1758) S05 (see below for synonymy)
               |          |--G. olivaceus D66
               |          |--G. perplexus (Milne-Edwards 1869) [=Ardea perplexa, Proardea perplexa] Ml02
               |          `--G. spinicollis Scl66
               `--+--‘Platalea’ alba BKB15
                  `--+--Plegadis Kaup 1829 BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                     |    |  i. s.: P. paganus (Milne-Edwards 1868) (see below for synonymy) Ml02
                     |    |--P. ridgwayi JT12
                     |    `--+--*P. falcinellus (Linnaeus 1766) CC10, JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                     |       `--P. chihi JT12
                     `--+--‘Platalea’ ajaja Linnaeus 1758 JT12, L58
                        `--+--Nipponia nippon (Temminck 1835) BKB15, I92
                           `--+--Platalea Linnaeus 1758 BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                              |    |--*P. leucorodia Linnaeus 1758 CC10, Ml02
                              |    |    |--P. l. leucorodia CS77
                              |    |    |--P. l. archeri Neumann 1928 CS77
                              |    |    `--P. l. balsaci de Naurois & Roux 1974 CS77
                              |    |--P. flavipes Gould 1838 [=*Platibis flavipes] CC10
                              |    |--P. pygmea Linnaeus 1758 L58
                              |    |--P. regia Gould 1838 (see below for synonymy) CC10
                              |    `--P. telfairi Sch66
                              `--Threskiornis Gray 1842 JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                                   |--*T. aethiopicus (Latham 1790) B94 (see below for synonymy)
                                   |--T. bernieri JT12
                                   |    |--T. b. bernieri HSS13
                                   |    `--T. b. abbotti HSS13
                                   |--T. melanocephalus (Latham 1790) I92
                                   |--T. molucca (Cuvier 1829) [=Ibis molucca] CC10
                                   |    |--T. m. molucca CC10
                                   |    `--T. m. strictipennis (Gould 1838) (see below for synonymy) CC10
                                   |--T. solitarius HSS13
                                   `--T. spinicollis (Jameson 1835) (see below for synonymy) CC10

Threskiornithidae incertae sedis:
  Ajaja ajaja FP64
  Bostrychia JT12
    |--B. bocagei JT12
    |--B. carunculata (Rüppell 1837) [=Ibis carunculata] S05
    |--B. hagedash JT12
    |--B. olivacea JT12
    `--B. rara JT12
  Comatibus eremita RN72b
  Thaumatibis gigantea JT12
  Pseudibis JT12
    |--P. davisoni JT12 [=P. papillosa davisoni SU93]
    `--P. papillosa JT12
  Hagedashia hagedash M03
    |--H. h. hagedash PB27
    `--H. h. nilotica PB27
  Lophotibis cristata JT12
  Harpiprion EA06
    |--H. caerulescens EA06
    `--H. cayennensis S18
  Borbonibis latipes FS01
  Protibis cnemialis Ameghino 1891 A94
  Cercibis oxycerca JT12
  Mesembrinibis cayennensis JT12
  Actiornis Lydekker 1891 M09, Ml02
    `--*A. anglicus Lydekker 1891 Ml02
  Minggangia changgouensis Hou 1982 M09

Geronticus eremita (Linnaeus 1758) S05 [=Upupa eremita Ml02; incl. G. balcanicus Boev 1998 Ml02, Ibis comata Rüppell 1837 (n. n.) S05, G. comatus Rüppell 1845 S05]

Platalea Linnaeus 1758 BKB15, CC10 [incl. Platibis Bonaparte 1855 CC10, Spatherodia Reichenbach 1852 CC10]

Platalea regia Gould 1838 [=P. leucorodia regia, Spatherodia regia; incl. P. intermedia Ogilvie-Grant 1889, Ardea latirostrum Ellman 1861, P. melanorhynchos Reichenbach 1845, P. melanorhyncha, *Spatherodia melanorhynchus, P. regia stalkeri Mathews 1912] CC10

Plegadis Kaup 1829 BKB15, CC10 [=Plegadornis Brehm 1855 CC10, Tantalides Wagler 1832 CC10; incl. Egatheus Lönnberg 1906 non Billberg 1828 CC10, Falcinellus Vieillot 1816 B94, Milnea Lydekker 1891 non Reichenbach 1866 Ml02; Falcinellinae, Plegadinae]

*Plegadis falcinellus (Linnaeus 1766) CC10, JT12, CC10 [=Tantalus falcinellus CC10, *Plegadornis falcinellus CC10, *Tantalides falcinellus CC10; incl. *Egatheus autumnalis CC10, Ibis peregrina Bonaparte 1855 CC10, Plegadis falcinellus peregrinus CC10, P. falcinellus rogersi Mathews 1916 CC10]

Plegadis paganus (Milne-Edwards 1868) [=Ibis pagana, Actiornis pagana, Eudocimus paganus; incl. *Milnea gracilis Lydekker 1891] Ml02

Threskiornis Gray 1842 JT12, CC10 [=Ibis Cuvier 1816 non Lacépède 1799 B94; incl. Carphibis Reichenbach 1853 CC10, Setibis Bonaparte 1856 CC10]

*Threskiornis aethiopicus (Latham 1790) B94 [=Tantalus aethiopicus CC10, *Ibis aethiopicus B94]

Threskiornis molucca strictipennis (Gould 1838) [=Ibis strictipennis, I. molucca strictipennis, T. aethiopica strictipennis] CC10

Threskiornis spinicollis (Jameson 1835) [=Ibis spinicollis, *Carphibis spinicollis, *Setibis spinicollis; incl. I. australis Jardine & Selby 1837, C. spinicollis fitzroi Mathews 1912, I. lamellicollis Lafresnaye 1836] CC10

*Type species of generic name indicated


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Last updated: 1 December 2021.

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