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The Botanical Gallery

James Audubon - The Scarlet Ibis

James Audubon - The Scarlet Ibis

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The Scarlet Ibis is a species of ibis in the bird family Threskiornithidae. It 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 colouration makes it unmistakable. 
 
This medium-sized wader is a hardy, numerous, and prolific bird, and it has protected status around the world. Adult plumage is virtually all scarlet. The feathers may show various tints and shades, but only the tips of their wings deviate from their namesake colour. A small but reliable marking, these wingtips are a rich inky black (or occasionally dark blue) and are found only on the longest primaries – otherwise the birds' colouration is "a vivid orange-red, almost luminous in quality." Scarlet ibises have red bills and feet however the bill is sometimes blackish, especially toward the end. They have a long, narrow, de-curved bill. Their legs and necks are long and extended in flight. 
 
A juvenile Scarlet Ibis is a mix of grey, brown, and white. As it grows, a heavy diet of red crustaceans produces the scarlet colouration. The colour change begins with the juvenile's second moult, around the time it begins to fly: the change starts on the back and spreads gradually across the body while increasing in intensity over about two years. The Scarlet Ibis is the only shorebird with red colouration in the world. 
 
Adults are 55–63 centimetres (22–25 in) long, and the males, slightly larger than females, typically weigh about 1.4 kilograms (3.1 lb). Their bills are also on average around 22% longer than those of females. An adult Scarlet Ibis has a wingspan of around 54 centimetres (21 in). Though it spends most of its time on foot or wading through water, the bird is a very strong flyer: they are highly migratory and easily capable of long-distance flight. They move as flocks in a classic V formation.

 

Gouttelette print on paper

Image size 102 x 74 cms
Paper size 112 x 84 cms
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