Eudocimus is a genus of Ibises (wading birds) – the white and red-plumaged members of which have long legs and long, down-curved bills.
Ibises resemble herons and share many of their habitats and behavioral traits, but unlike herons, ibises fly with necks outstretched and often in V-formation.
Distribution / Range
They occur in the warmer parts of the New World with representatives from the southern United States south through Central America, the West Indies and South America.
These birds are found in marshy wetlands, often near coasts.
Species and Ranges
The two species hybridize are sometimes considered conspecific (one species) – notwithstanding their obvious physical differences.
- American White Ibis, Eudocimus albus
- Range: Occur naturally from the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States south through most of the New World tropics.
- Scarlet Ibis, Eudocimus ruber
- Range: Occur naturally in tropical South America as well as the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
Adults measure between 56 – 61 cm in length and have a wingspan of 85 – 95 cm.
Depending on the species, the plumage is either white (albus) or red (ruber), except for the black wing-tips which are easily visible in flight. They have long curved bills, pink legs and bare red faces.
Juveniles have a mostly brown plumage, except for the white plumage below and duller bare parts.
Diet / Feeding
Ibises mostly feed in shallow waters on aquatic insects, fish, mollusks, frogs, and food sifted from the water surface.
Their diet also includes insects caught on land, as well as lizards, worms, skinks, and other small reptiles.
Some species will also take small birds.
Most breeding activities are observed after the rainy season, when plenty of food is available.
They are monogamous and typically nest in colonies, often with other water birds.
The nests are shallow cup-shaped platforms of sticks, grasses or reeds that are typically situated on trees near a body of water, such as rivers, swamps or lakes. Although some ibises also make their nest amongst rocks and on cliffs,
The average clutch consists of 2 – 5 eggs. The nests are often reused year-after-year.