Scarlet ibis are bright red birds, with long, slender necks and long, curved bills. They have very long legs that help them to walk across mudflats and marshlands. Their bill is highly sensitive and can search out small creatures such as crustaceans, insects, fish and frogs in the mud. The bill changes colour throughout the year; during breeding season it becomes black, whilst outside of this period it is reddish.
Scarlet ibis live in extensive colonies. Males have to woo females by performing complex courtship dances, and they will then normally mate for life. The pair will then work together to make a nest in a mangrove tree out of sticks. A female will normally lay 3-5 eggs, which are incubated for 19 to 23 days.
Scarlet ibis have protected status throughout the world, however populations are still declining due to overhunting, collection of eggs and selling of young as pets. Currently the species is classified on the IUCN Red List as ‘Least Concern,’ however numbers are still decreasing.
South America and Caribbean Islands
Mudflats, estuaries, shorelines, and shallow bays
Crabs, small fish, crustaceans, frogs, worms, insects