Red in diet

Source:, photo: Hans Hillewaert
Scarlet ibises are a bright red birds. Their wingtips are blue-black. The diet of the birds partly determines their colour: It is caused by a pigment (canthaxantine) that is present in shrimps and small crabs.
Besides shrimps and crabs, the bird’s diet consists of crayfish, small snakes, frogs, insects and invertebrates. In zoos, a pigment is mixed in with the ibises’ food to retain their beautiful red colour, because the food in zoos does not always contain enough natural pigment.
Red ibises (Eudocimus ruber) are ostrich-like birds. Their natural habitat is the entire north side of the Amazon river basin, including Suriname. The red ibises breed in large colonies. They search for food in shallow waters along the coast and in mud.

The birds are 50 to 75 centimetres tall and they have a 50 centimetres wingspan. The males are somewhat bigger than the females and they have a longer beak. Otherwise the two sexes look the same.
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