You are here

The Scarlet Ibis



The resident population of Scarlet Ibis, (Eudocimus ruber), in the Caroni Swamp is several thousands and a sight to behold. The young ibis is usually greyish-brown. The plumage turns pink between 6-12 months then develops a scarlet colour in 3 years. The adult ibis is a brilliant scarlet with the tips of the four longest primary feathers being black. The legs, bill and face are pink but during the breeding season the bill turns blackish.

In captivity, the Scarlet Ibis loses it brilliant scarlet colour because of a change in diet that lacks certain pigments found in organisms that they eat such as crabs, small fishes, shrimps, insects, and algae which inhabit the mudflats in the swamp. 

In 1962, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, named the Scarlet Ibis as the national bird of Trinidad. The Scarlet Ibis is protected by law.