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Scarlet Ibis by John Burgess

Ibis, Scarlet

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Description

The scarlet ibis is aptly named for its bright orange-red plumage, with some black feathers on the edges of the primary flight feathers. Like the flamingo, the bright color of the feathers comes from the diet, specifically the beta-carotene in crustaceans. They are about 75 cm (30 inches) tall, with a wingspan of about 30 cm (1 foot).  They weigh about 1350 g (about 3 pounds).  Males and females do not differ much in color or size. Juveniles are a dull grayish brown, with some whitish feathers. They gradually develop their adult color over the course of 2-3 years.

Classification

Class
Aves
Order
Pelecaniformes
Family
Threskiornithidae
Genus
Eudocimus
Species
E. ruber
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
~75 cm (30 inches)
Weight
~1350 g (3 pounds)

The IUCN Red List classifies Eudocimus ruber as a species of Least Concern although the total population appears to be in decline owing largely to ongoing habitat destruction.

Social Life
Scarlet ibis are very gregarious, and live in large colonies. They migrate from the Venezuelan llanos—treeless grassy plains similar to African savanna—during the dry season, usually north to the coast. Flocks fly in large V-formations. They will also fly long distances from roosting or nesting areas to foraging sites.

Habitat and Range
Scarlet ibis are found in mangrove swamps, muddy estuaries, and tidal flats in northern and eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, northern Venezuela, and coastal Brazil to the delta of the Amazon River.

Diet
Mainly crabs, including fiddler crabs, mollusks, small fish, insects, and worms. Forages in groups of 30-70, probing in the mud with its sensitive beak.

Lifespan
About 20 years.

Predators
The security provided by large flocks means scarlet ibis have few predators. A greater threat to the animals comes from habitat destruction and poaching.

Reproduction
Scarlet Ibis pair bond and form large nesting colonies of 50-5000 pairs, often with other ibis and herons.
Sexual Maturity: About 4 years.
Mating Season: Scarlet Ibis mating season is variable, but mainly occurs during the rainy season. In the llanos they breed only after extensive heavy rains. They frequently use the same nests many years in a row.
Incubation: 21-23 days
No. of Young: The female lays her 2 eggs on a stick platform, often built on mangrove trees on islands in the swamps. The chicks hatch with thick black down, which changes to brownish white feathers.  They fledge at 35-42 days. Both parents feed and guard the chicks.

Information

Description

The scarlet ibis is aptly named for its bright orange-red plumage, with some black feathers on the edges of the primary flight feathers. Like the flamingo, the bright color of the feathers comes from the diet, specifically the beta-carotene in crustaceans. They are about 75 cm (30 inches) tall, with a wingspan of about 30 cm (1 foot).  They weigh about 1350 g (about 3 pounds).  Males and females do not differ much in color or size. Juveniles are a dull grayish brown, with some whitish feathers. They gradually develop their adult color over the course of 2-3 years.

Classification

Class
Aves
Order
Pelecaniformes
Family
Threskiornithidae
Genus
Eudocimus
Species
E. ruber
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
~75 cm (30 inches)
Weight
~1350 g (3 pounds)

The IUCN Red List classifies Eudocimus ruber as a species of Least Concern although the total population appears to be in decline owing largely to ongoing habitat destruction.

Social Life
Scarlet ibis are very gregarious, and live in large colonies. They migrate from the Venezuelan llanos—treeless grassy plains similar to African savanna—during the dry season, usually north to the coast. Flocks fly in large V-formations. They will also fly long distances from roosting or nesting areas to foraging sites.

Habitat and Range
Scarlet ibis are found in mangrove swamps, muddy estuaries, and tidal flats in northern and eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, northern Venezuela, and coastal Brazil to the delta of the Amazon River.

Diet
Mainly crabs, including fiddler crabs, mollusks, small fish, insects, and worms. Forages in groups of 30-70, probing in the mud with its sensitive beak.

Lifespan
About 20 years.

Predators
The security provided by large flocks means scarlet ibis have few predators. A greater threat to the animals comes from habitat destruction and poaching.

Reproduction
Scarlet Ibis pair bond and form large nesting colonies of 50-5000 pairs, often with other ibis and herons.
Sexual Maturity: About 4 years.
Mating Season: Scarlet Ibis mating season is variable, but mainly occurs during the rainy season. In the llanos they breed only after extensive heavy rains. They frequently use the same nests many years in a row.
Incubation: 21-23 days
No. of Young: The female lays her 2 eggs on a stick platform, often built on mangrove trees on islands in the swamps. The chicks hatch with thick black down, which changes to brownish white feathers.  They fledge at 35-42 days. Both parents feed and guard the chicks.