The Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) is a large wetlands bird. It is a wader and a shore or coastal bird. It is the only red coastal bird in the world.
The Scarlet Ibis is scarlet red. Its wingtips often have black or dark blue markings. It has a long downward-curved red beak, which is darker towards the tip. Its feet are red. Its neck and legs are long, and they are out-stretched when they fly.
It measures 55–63 centimetres (22–25 inches) tall, with a wingspan of about 54 centimetres (21 inches).
The Scarlet Ibis is native to the northern countries of South America, and Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. It prefers wetlands, mudflats, coastal regions, and marshy areas.
It spends most of its time in shallow water. It migrates in winter to warmer locations. It migrates in flocks in a V-formation.
It eats shrimp and other red shellfish, which produces carotenoid. Carotenoid gives the ibis its red colour. It also eats insects and fish. It uses its long beak to poke in the mud to look for food.
The Scarlet Ibis is social and lives in colonies of 30 or more individuals, but is often seen in mating pairs. It makes a simple nest of sticks in a tree near water. Females lay 3-5 eggs, which hatch after 19-23 days. Both parents look after the chicks.
Its average lifespan is 16 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM