NYC - Bronx - Bronx Zoo: Aquatic Bird House - Scarlet Ibis
The Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) is a species of ibis that occurs in tropical South America and Trinidad and Tobago. It is the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago and is featured on their coat of arms along with the Rufous-vented Chachalaca. This species is very closely related to the American White Ibis and is sometimes considered conspecific with it.
While the species may have occurred as a natural vagrant in southern Florida in the late 1800s, all recent reports in North America have been of introduced or escaped birds. Eggs from Trinidad were placed in White Ibis nests in Hialeah Park in 1962, and the resulting population hybridised with the native ibis, producing "pink ibis" that are still occasionally seen.
Adults are 56-61 cm long and weigh 650g. They are completely scarlet, except for black wing-tips. They nest in trees use their long curved bills to probe in mud and shallow water for small crabs, mollusks, insects, and worms. To maintain their red plummage, birds need to consume plant pigments found in the diets of their prey.
Ibises are a group of long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae. The word ibis comes from Greek, originally borrowed from Ancient Egyptian hîb. According to folklore, the ibis is the last form of wildlife to take shelter prior to a hurricane and the first to reappear after the storm passes. The Sacred Ibis was also an object of religious veneration in ancient Egypt, particularly associated with the god, Thoth.
The Bronx Zoo, located within the Bronx Park, is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, comprising 265 acres of parklands and naturalistic habitats and home to over 4,000 animals. Focused on conservation, it opened on November 8, 1899, with 22 exhibits, 843 animals. The zoo's origins date back to 1895, with the establishment of the New york Zoological Society (NYZS), renamed Wild Conservation Scoiety (WCS) in 1993. Only the outer structure of the World of Reptiles remains much as it was in 1899. With the 1941 opening of African Plains, the Bronx Zoo was one of the first U.S. zoos to move away from cages and exhibit animals in naturalistic habitats.