Did You Know? 17 Incredible Scarlet Ibis Facts

Scarlet ibis facts about the wading birds with long legs and long neck.

The scarlet ibis is found and nests in the coastal regions of northern South America and the Caribbean islands. They are easily recognized due to their brilliant scarlet color, which happens to the food they consume. The scarlet ibis is titled to be one of the national birds of Trinidad and Tobago. The adult birds have scarlet plumage. The juveniles have a mix of grey, brown and white colors. Their feathers are various tints of the same color, and the tips of their wings are rich inky black in color. Their feet and legs are also scarlet. The bills are also the same color, but they may look blackish. The bill is narrow, long, and decurved. These breeding birds are known as strong flyers, with a large wingspan of up to 21 in (53.3 cm).

Here are some interesting facts about the scarlet ibis bird species, after which you must also check out our other articles on common kingfisher facts and birds of paradise facts as well.

Scarlet Ibis

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Shrimps, crustaceans, mollusks

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-5 eggs

How much do they weigh?

2.8-3.1 lb (1.27-1.40 kg)

How long are they?

Wingspan: 20-21 in (50.8-53.3 cm)

How tall are they?

22-25 in (55.8-63.5 cm)

What do they look like?

Orange-red color, downward curved bill, black-tipped feathers, pink legs, webbed toes

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans, large cats, birds of prey

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Lakes, tropical moist forests, mangroves, estuaries


Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana, Guyana





Scientific Name

Eudocimus ruber





Scarlet Ibis Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a scarlet ibis?

The scarlet ibis is a large bird or wader with a distinct bill. They are found in the northern region of South America and the Caribbean.

What class of animal does a scarlet ibis ​belong to?

They belong to the Aves or birds class of animals with a bill. They lay eggs in the clutches of 3-5 in the islands. They are highly migratory birds with a downward curved bill and long legs with webbed feet.

How many scarlet ibises are there in the world?

Tthere are about 100,000-150,000 scarlet ibises. However, the population is decreasing due to overhunting, collection of eggs, and illegal trade. Their habitat is spread across Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana, and Guyana.

Where does a scarlet ibis live?

The scarlet ibis nest is found in the northern region of South America. This species is found along the shore from Venezuela to eastern Brazil. Most numbers of these unique birds are found in tropical grassland plains of the Llanos region of western Venezuela and eastern Colombia. It has proved to be a safe haven for these birds away from human encroachment.

What is a scarlet ibis' habitat?

The scarlet ibis is found in swamps, mudflats, shallow bays. They build their nests in dense bushlands or mangroves near the mouth of the rivers. Their habitat spans across South America and Caribbean Islands.

Who do scarlet ibises live with?

Scarlet ibises are known as gregarious and social birds. They are community-conscious birds who will search for food and protect their young ones as one unit. They will live in flocks of thirty or more individuals. Scarlet ibises build their nest close to one another too. They also congregate in larger quantities to protect themselves. Scarlet ibises are found in mixed flocks of spoonbills, storks, egrets, herons, and ducks during feeding, flying, and protection.

How long does a scarlet ibis live?

The lifespan of a scarlet ibis is of 20 years. They have a 50% mortality rate but may live longer in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Scarlet ibis birds have a colonial and social breeding system. They build their nest close to one another. There is more than one nest on each tree. The males will attract females by flights, preening, head rubbing, and rocking motion. The female has to be careful while approaching a male, as the male may attack them if they move away from their display area. Males will mate with more than one female. They migrate to their colonial nesting by mid-September. Scarlet ibis eggs hatch from November to December. The first egg of an ibis is laid 5-6 days after copulations. Females may lay 5-6 eggs. Incubation is for 19-23 days. Nestlings are fledged in 35 days and independent by 75 days. Both male and female ibises share the responsibility of their offspring.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status is of Least Concern. However, there is a disturbing trend of illegal trade of nestlings and eggs and overhunting. They are also losing their habitat quickly due to human encroachment, pollution, loss of foraging, nesting, and feeding grounds.

Scarlet Ibis Fun Facts

What do scarlet ibises look like?

The adult birds have a scarlet plumage and a unique small bill. Juveniles have a mix of grey, brown and white colors. Their feathers are various tints of the same color and the tips of their wings are rich inky black in color. Their feet and legs are also scarlet. The bill is also the same color, but it may look blackish. The bill is narrow, long, and decurved.

Scarlet ibis learns to swim even before they are able to fly.

How cute are they?

These red-colored birds or chicks are exceptionally cute in appearance and cannot be missed due to their brilliant scarlet orangish coloring of almost their whole body as well as curved bills.

How do they communicate?

Scarlet ibis call involves producing a honking sound when this animal species is disturbed during nesting phases. They make a similar noise while courting.  The chicks or babies produce a shrill sound to communicate their hunger. Non-vocal communication happens through touch, especially during the courtship. The males and females or chicks will wrap their necks in a hug while greeting each other. The females will make a squealing sound.

How big is a scarlet ibis?

The scarlet ibis is a medium-sized bird with a slender neck, feathers, legs, and bodies. The ibis' feathers are quite beautiful. Their size ranges between 22-25 in (55.8-63.5 cm) with wingspan length of around 20-21 in (50.8-53.3 cm).

How fast can a scarlet ibis ​fly?

Even though the ibis' spend most of their time walking and wading through water. They are highly migratory and can fly long distances with ease. Ibises fly in a flock with the classic V-formation. They can fly at a speed of 25 mph (40 kph).

How much does a scarlet ibis weigh?

Scarlet ibis weight ranges between 2.8-3.1 lb (1.27-1.40 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The males and females do not have a specific name. Their flocks are called stand, congregation, and wedge.

What would you call a baby scarlet ibis?

A scarlet ibis baby is known as a chick or a juvenile.

What do they eat?

The scarlet ibis diet varies and preys on crustaceans, mollusks, fish, insects, frogs, and small snakes. This species eats crustaceans and aquatic invertebrates with help of their strong downward curved bills. Crayfish and small crabs are also a part of their diet, along with aquatic insects. These red-colored amazing animals forage their food by probing in water or pecking for prey in soil surfaces.

Are they dangerous?

The ibis is not dangerous to humans in any way. Ibis only preys on sea creatures and doesn’t seem to harm humans in any way.

Would they make a good pet?

These red-colored animals may survive well in captivity but it won't be advisable as they lose their brilliant red coloring and their nomadic lifestyle. More work should be done to protect their natural habitat.

Did you know...

Ibises are ancient birds with fossil records going back 60 million years.

The nestlings of this animal will learn to swim around the nesting areas before they can fly.

The scarlet ibis's adaptations

Their brilliant red color becomes deeper with age. These breeding birds are waders who prefer to live onshore lines or in moist inland regions. They may not adapt well to any other regions.

The scarlet ibis's symbolism

The scarlet ibis symbolism holds great importance in various cultures. Scarlet ibis symbolizes the people who are lost or out of place, weak and fragile.

Why is the scarlet ibis red?

The scarlet ibis is red in color due to its prey. It comes from the carotene in the crustaceans which they eat.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these jacana facts, and skimmer facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our scarlet ibis coloring pages.



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.
No items found.