There has been a confirmed sighting of a Scarlet Ibis bird on the Tobago Plantations Estate. According to Wildlife Biologist from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Angela Ramsey, she was notified and upon investigation, discovered the bird near the Maintenance Facilities on the compound. After an examination, she was able to confirm that it was indeed a scarlet ibis (Eudocimus Ruber) from its scarlet red colour and black wing tips (seen in flight), pink legs and bill. She said that the bird was seen nesting with the other birds, the Cattle Egrets, and Little Blue Herons.
The Scarlet Ibis is one of the national birds of Trinidad and Tobago, and at one time was seen regularly in Tobago. Little Tobago was once called the “Bird of Paradise” Island because it was populated by the Scarlet Ibis birds. However, many of the birds died in the devastation caused by Hurricane Flora in 1963 and there have been no reported sightings in Tobago until now.
Ramsey described the sighting as rare, not only because of its non-existence since Hurricane Flora, but because it was seen alone. She explained that Scarlet Ibis birds usually travel and nest in flocks and wondered if there might have been more. The bird’s stay was very brief since she said it was seen leaving the area at approximately 7:00 the following morning after its discovery. Searches in the mangroves nearby proved futile as the bird was no where to be seen, however, Ramsey has been monitoring the wetlands for more possible sightings. She attributed the brief stay of the Scarlet Ibis to some aggression noticed being displayed by other surrounding birds that were getting territorial.