Has proportions of heron and bill shape of curlew. Plumage can seem black but in good light looks deep maroon with sheen to feathrers of wings and back. Breeding bird has white lines from base of bill to eye. In flight, head and neck held outstretched with legs trailing; head looks bulbous.
Favours wetlands and present April-September. Widespread passage migrant. Breeds very locally in SE Europe. Overwinters in small numbers, particularly in S Iberian Peninsula.
The fourth photo was actually what the ibis looked like most of the time - a very shy bird! The other three were taken within the space of half a minute, and then it disappeared into the reeds again! Spotted on a reedy lake in the Rio Formosa Natural Park.