The Scarlet Ibis is a species of ibis found in South America and the islands of the Caribbean. The brilliant scarlet color makes this bird remarkable. In fact, it is one of two national birds of Trinidad and Tobago! Heck, did you know this beauty has a protected status all around the world?
Where can we find the Scarlet Ibis?
Widely distributed, this Ibis is found throughout South America and the Caribbean islands. More precisely, it extends from Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. Finally, it occurs in the islands of the Netherlands Antilles, and Trinidad and Tobago. Moreover, when it comes to perfect habitat, our friend lives in wetlands and other marshy habitats. Thus, it can be seen in mudflats, mangroves, shoreline, shallow bays, lakes, estuaries, and rainforest.
How does the Scarlet Ibis look?
Resembling a flamingo, this bird is truly breathtaking in its appearance. Therefore, the feathers can show various tints and shades. However, only the tips of the wings deviate from its namesake color. Moreover, the wingtips are rich inky black or dark blue. Finally, although the bill and feet are red, they can be sometimes blackish. But, do you know how this beauty becomes scarlet? The answer lays in its diet, which is consisted of red crustaceans!
Not only beautiful but resourceful, this bird uses its long bill to probe for food in soft mud. Moreover, as the only red shorebird in the world, our friend eats a lot of red food which produces carotenoid. Thus, this is the key component of the bird’s red pigmentation. However, this carnivore still has a varied diet. Mainly eating insects like ground beetles, but also consuming shrimp, small crabs, mollusks, and other crustaceans.
Just like their colorful relatives’ roseate spoonbills, these Ibises are also serially monogamous. Therefore, they form pairs remaining faithful within a single breeding season. Naturally, both parents share the responsibility for the young. But, before that, our male still has to put some effort in order to seduce a female. Thus, like the magnificent frigatebird, it will perform a variety of mating rituals. Then, the pair will build a nest together, where the mother lays 3 to 5 eggs after a gestation of only 5 to 6 days. Finally, after incubation of 19 to 23 days, the chicks hatch helpless, but after 75 days they are fully independent.
Did you know these Ibises exist for over 60 million years?
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