Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scarlet Ibis


Three photos from the archives, a Scarlet Ibis taken while visiting San Diego Sea World in August of 2010. I have been looking through my photos from last year's trip and when I looked at this one, the first thing that struck me, apart from its colorful feathers, is how blue its eyes are. Such a pretty bird.

The Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) is a species of ibis that inhabits tropical South America and also Trinidad and Tobago. It is the national bird of Trinidad and is featured on the Trinidad and Tobago coat of arms, along with Tobago's national bird, the Rufous-vented Chachalaca. You can click here to see the coat of arms and also to see what a Rufous-vented Chachalaca actually looks like. The Scarlet Ibis is very closely related to the American White Ibis and is sometimes considered conspecific with it. (Conspecific means relating to the same species.)

While the species may have occurred as a natural vagrant in southern Florida in the late 19th century, all recent reports of the species in North America have been introduced or escaped birds. Eggs from Trinidad were placed in White Ibis nests in Hialeah Park (Florida) in 1962, and the resulting population hybridized with the native ibis, producing "pink ibises" that are still occasionally seen.

Just like Flamingoes, the Scarlet Ibis gets its pink, orange and reddish color from the rich source of pigments in the algae and small crustaceans that they eat. Their legs and feet are also pink in color. Along with their scarlet coloring, adult birds have dark blue tips on four of their outer primary feathers.

Adults are 22-24 inches long (56-61 centimetres) and weigh 23 ounces (650 grams). They nest in trees, laying two to four eggs. Their diet consists of frogs, reptiles and crustaceans. A juvenile Scarlet Ibis is grey and white. As it grows, the ingestion of red crustaceans in the tropical swamps gradually produces the characteristic scarlet plumage. The life span of the Scarlet Ibis is approximately 15 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.

18 comments:

The Elephant's Child said...

Just amazing.

Craig said...

Remarkable. Not easy to hide away without getting noticed I would imagine!

Valerie said...

What a gorgeous bird, I've never heard of it before. Brilliant colour.

minor said...

Very beautiful and nice shots! Very different from Japaneseibis.
http://www.env.go.jp/nature/toki/index.html

Mama-Bug said...

What a lovely bird! I've seen several other species of the Ibis but never the scarlet.

Ann said...

lovely, much more attractive than the grey ibis in Australia. No wonder they call them the rubbish birds in Australia.( actually, they are called because they have become obnoxious birds.

Beyond Wandering said...

This is such an amazing and beautiful bird. I haven't seen this before or heard of it. Thanks for sharing.

Out on the prairie said...

A beautiful bird, I have seen the pink ones.

Sharon said...

Beautiful bird, I have never seen one! Wouldn't mind a couple of those beautiful feathers!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Georgeous, Denise.. Love his beautiful color!!!!!

Hope you all will be safe from the hurricane. GADS---first an earthquake and now a hurricane... Gee!!!!! Enough is enough.
Hugs,
Betsy

gigihawaii said...

Very pretty color!

Debbie said...

what a beautiful bird...we are also preparing for irene. i did a blog entry on "getting ready", check it out for some tips!!!

imac said...

cant miss these can we.

EG Wow said...

Oh my! It really is SCARLET!

Maa said...

Unbelievable! What a beautiful colour. Maa

Arija said...

Goodness, what a wonderful bird, but who dipped it in a potful of red ink?

Margaret Cloud said...

How beautiful and I also thought of the Flamingos when I saw this bird. Thanks for the information on them, very interesting.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Isn't this little guy spectacular?