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Breeding success for scarlet ibis in Devon

Famous for its bright red feathers, the scarlet ibis is one of the most striking birds in the world.

Keepers at Paignton Zoo have successfully bred this colourful wading bird  – although the chicks are anything but scarlet at the moment.

Originating from South America and the Caribbean, the scarlet ibis get their dazzling plumage from the red crustaceans they eat.

However,  juveniles take time to grow into their colour. It’s not until their second moult that the birds begin to take on that extraordinary rosy sheen – and it can take a further 2 years or more for the change to be completed.

Keepers don’t want to disturb the birds, so are leaving them to get on with the parenting. Curator of Birds Jo Gregson: “We don’t want to go in there, alarm the adults and risk them abandoning the nests. We’ll find out more about the chicks in due course.”

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