scarlet ibis Fast Facts
These small wading birds have a distinctive rich scarlet plumage that is developed through eating a diet of red crustaceans. Young birds are generally a mix of grey, white and brown feathers, it is during their second moult that they start to develop the scarlet coloured feathers, which increases in richness over 2 years. The Scarlet is the only bird in the world with this colouration. The Scarlet ibis is a social bird, living and foraging flocks for safety and protection from predators. They will even flock with other species to increase their overall number.
They have a long slightly curved beak to probe into soft ground to search for food. They live in flocks and forage in flocks for safety and protection from predators. They forage for shrimp, crabs, other crustaceans, water beetles and ground beetles.
They prefer to live in marshy muddy habitats, but will build nests up the trees away from the water. Their nests usually look like a pile of disorganised sticks. They often choose to nest on islands away from predator threats. To attract a female the male will perform several mating ritual dances, including bill popping and head rubbing. The female will lay 3 to 5 eggs and incubate them for upto 23 days, once the chicks have hatched both parents will care for the young.
Threats + Conservation
The Scarlet ibis is considered to be of least concern by the IUCN Redlist, this is largely due to the fact that their range is so vast. However there are geographical areas of concern where populations are in decline, including French Guiana and Brazil.