I found these beautiful birds in the same area as the flamingos when I visited Sea World on my San Diego trip. If you would like to look at any of those photos you can click on "San Diego Trip - Sept 2010 - in the selection of labels below this post.
Many of you will recognize the Snowy Egret (Egretta Thula), which can be identified by its black bill and golden feet. These small shorebirds often congregate in groups of five to twenty and can often be seen along shorelines and shallow water mudflats, hanging out with great egrets, roseate spoonbills and ibises.
In the breeding season, long plumes of feathers, called aigrates, grow from their heads which in the past almost caused their demise. At the beginning of the 19th century these airgrettes were used as a fashion accessory in Europe and America and were worth their weight in gold. Every year more than a million of these birds were killed for their ornaments. Thankfully, nowadays the snowy egrets are protected and have healthy and abundant populations along the coasts of inland waters of North and South America and in parts of Europe.
This is a Scarlet Ibis. It is the most colorful of all ibis species and is native to South America. Chicks are born gray and gradually turn pink during their first year of life. Just like flamingos, adults require carotene in their diet to maintain their color.
The Scarlet Ibis is a wading bird that belongs to the same order as herons, spoonbills and storks and like the flamingo, adults eat a diet of shrimp and other crustaceans which helps to maintain that color. Both males and females exhibit the same coloration, but young scarlet ibises are a shadow of what they will become, with gray-brown upper parts and white underbellies.
Scarlet Ibises form large colonies and build their nests in close proximity to each other in trees that are close to water.
Camera Critters is a wonderful meme created by Misty Dawn. Thank you Misty!