These mini flamingo look-alikes are easy to spot, with their vibrant and bright scarlet red feathers!
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Scarlet ibises occupy range of aquatic habitats such as tidal mudflats, mangroves, rainforests, and lakes on the northern coasts of South America and the Caribbean.
The vibrant red plumage of scarlet ibises comes from the carotene found in their primary prey; crustaceans. They forage for crustaceans using their long, curved, slender bill to probe through mud and shallow water.
Ibises have a natural adaptability to feed on different food sources which enhances their survival chances. Therefore, their diet contains a vast range of items. This includes many crustaceans and invertebrates, and other small animals.
16 – 20 years.
These gregarious birds regularly participate in mixed flocks, such as with ducks, herons, and storks. This helps the birds to gain additional safety in numbers and so they can spend most of their day foraging. When migrating, they form and fly in a V-formation which is less tiring for the birds on the flanks. Once the ibis at the front tires, they move down the formation.
Scarlet ibises are serially monogamous. This means they remain faithful to one partner per breeding season but may mate with a different partner in the next breeding season. A male will court a female by preening her, shaking their bills, and jumping in the air. The pair build a nest within the safety of trees or on small islands. Both the male and female incubate the 3-5 eggs, which will hatch as altricial chicks after 19-23 days. These chicks heavily rely on their parents to bring them food, only fledging the nest after about 40 days.
The scarlet ibis is the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago!