Thursday, 16 August 2007
SCARLET IBIS OR COROCORA
Scientific name: Eudocimus ruber
Dutch: Rode ibis
French: Ibis rouge
Portugese (Brazil): Guará
Spanish (Venezuela, Colombia): Corocoro colorado, Corocora
Surinamese: Flamingo!, Korokoro
German: Roter Sichler, Roter Ibis
The scarlet ibis is a vivid scarlet bird (50 cm) with a curved bill. The sensitive bill is used to search for food, mainly small animals in the mud along the coast.
The scarlet ibises live in large groups and fly in V-formation from their roosts to their feeding grounds. They contrast splendidly with the normal green color of the landscape, the brown of the mud flats and the blue of the sky. The young are brown with a white rump and belly.
The ibises feed in shallow waters along the coast, in the mud flats and in the lagoons. As is known from the zoo, they have to eat a lot of shrimps to retain their color. They sleep in large groups in the mangrove trees along the coast, together with herons. In these trees they make their nest (a pile of sticks) and both parents take care of the young.
Arie Spaans and Ben de Jong (and Muriël Held) have been counting the numbers of breeding pairs for many years in Suriname and sometimes also in the surrounding countries. They acted for the foundation for the preservation of nature in Suriname (STINASU). The maximum number of breeding pairs in Suriname (35.000 in 1986) is a substantial part of the South American population of the scarlet ibis. But the species is highly migratory and the numbers for Suriname (and other places) fluctuate. The ibises breed in young mangroves and if not enough of these trees are found in Suriname, the birds fly away to breed on the coast of Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana or Brazil. In Trinidad they are protected as the the national bird of that island, but they did not breed there for the last 30 years.