Scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
The scarlet ibis inhabits tropical South America and islands of the Caribbean. In form it resembles most of the other twenty-seven extant species of ibis, but its remarkably brilliant scarlet coloration makes it unmistakable. This medium-sized wader is a hardy, numerous, and prolific bird, and it has protected status around the world.
Mating pairs build nests in a simple style, typically “loose platforms of sticks” of a quality sometimes described as “artless”. They roost in leaf canopies, mostly preferring the convenient shelter of young waterside mangrove trees. To attract a female, the male will perform a variety of mating rituals such as preening, shaking, bill popping, head rubbing, and high flights. Their distinctive long, thin bills are used to probe for food in soft mud or under plants.
Popularly imagined to be eating only shrimp, a recent study in Llanos has found that much of their diet consists of insects, of which the majority were scarabs and ground beetles.