As its name suggests, the Scarlet Ibis is completely red – apart from its black wing tips. With long legs and a slender neck, they grow to 75cm (30in) high and have a wingspan of 30cm (1ft).
Found in lagoons, estuaries and the coastal areas of the Caribbean and South America, the Scarlet Ibis is an unmistakable sight. It uses its long curved bill to find small, carotene rich crustaceans in mud flats and along the water’s edge. The bird’s rich red colouring, like that of the flamingo, is a result of their colourful shellfish diet.
Nesting in colonies, the Scarlet Ibis builds an untidy nest of twigs in trees and shrubs, and lays between three and five eggs. Those eggs are then incubated (kept warm) for a period of 23 days. The feathers on a young Scarlet Ibis are greyish brown and only achieve their Scarlet colouration at around two years of age. They can live for up to 20 years.
Extinct In The Wild