Taxonomy - Class Aves, Order Ciconiiformes, Family Threskiornithidae, Genus specie Eudocimus ruber
Range and Habitat:
Inhabits mud flats, shallow bays, marshes, estuaries and shore areas of Florida and Caribbean Islands to South America, from Venezuela to eastern Brazil.
Size: The adult bird is 22-30 inches long from tip of bill to tip of tail. 24 inches tall.
The Adults are solid bright sarlet except for black ends of 4 outer
primaries. The young are a dull, grayish-brown with white underparts.
The legs are also long and thin with slightly webbed feet. Their tail is short
The scarlet ibis is a very sociable bird which congregates in large
colonies at breeding time. The scarlet ibis will fly in large flocks to
hunt and fish for food. It finds its food by rooting around in the mud
with its long curved bill at the bottom of river banks and large bodies
The Scarlet Ibis is the protected worldwide, especially in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago, where it is revered as the National Bird. Visitors to the island are always invited to a guided boat tour into the Caroni Bird Sanctuary in the Caroni Swamp-an area set aside by the government for the protection of these colourful birds.
The main event
at the Sanctuary begins around 4:30pm when the Scarlet Ibis and Egrets travel
in squadron formation to roost on the mangrove islands. At sunset, hundreds
of birds fly in from neighbouring lagoons to roost for the night and the drab
mangrove bushes become festooned, as if by magic, with scarlet "blooms". For
this magnificent display alone, a visit to Trinidad is said to be worth while.The
Caroni Swamp includes fifteen thousand acres of marshland, tidal lagoons, and
mangrove trees. Several thousand Scarlet Ibises nest and roost in the sanctuary
and are often seen in large numbers during the last two hours of daylight. Larger
numbers of Scarlet Ibises can be seen during the breeding season, from April
Nests in colonies of up to several hundred on dense brush and mangrove-covered islands near river mouths. Incubation lasts for 19-23 days and 3-5 eggs are usually laid. Both parents incubate and care for the young.
These birds feed mainly on crabs which they seek out on the mud flats exposed at low tide and on the stilt roots of the red mangrove. They also feed on Crustaceans, mollusks, fish, insects, frogs, and small snakes.
The only known predators of this beautful bird are Man and large cats.
The Scarlet Ibis and Ancient Egypt
Scarlet Ibis Tours in the Florida Keys
Save The Birds, Rudolf L. Schreiber, 1989, Press Syndicate, University of Cambridge, ISBN 0-395-51172-0
Richard P. The Birds. David Frost Introduces Trinidad & Tobago. Edited by Michael Anthony and Andrew Carr. Copyright © 1975 by André Deutsh Limited.
Roger Tory Peterson, 1947, A Field Guide to the Birds, The Peterson Field Guide Series ISBN 0-395-08082-7