Breeding biology and nest site characteristics of the scarlet ibis in southeastern Brazil
Waterbirds, v. 24, n. 1, p. 58-67, 2001.
Silva E Silva, Robson
The breeding biology of the only Scarlet Ibis Eudocimus ruber colony in southeastern Brazil was studied during the 1996-97 breeding season. The ibises began to visit their colony site by mid-September. Nest building and egg laying took place in early November and was synchronous, making the first nesting pulse. Mean clutch size in this pulse was 2.45 eggs/nest, and 0.67 young/nest reached age three weeks, when they were able to walk about the nest tree and environs. Predation was the main cause of nest failures (74% of all losses), followed by nest collapses (19%). A second nesting pulse, also synchronous, started in late December, when the young from the first nests were already able to wander about the colony and make short flights. Mean clutch size of this pulse was 2.05 eggs/nest and productivity was 0.34 young/nest. Nest collapses during storms accounted for 58% of the losses, and predation for a further 27%. A third pulse, with only a few nests, started when the second pulse young were in their third week, but no nest was successful. The incubation time was 21-24 days, and the young were able to fly well when 40 days old, deserting the colony by age 75 days. Nesting early in the breeding season yielded greater success. Nests were built close to each other (a sphere with a 1.8 m radius and centered on an average nest would include the four nearest neighbors) and there was always more than one nest per tree. Most nests were built on the upper third of the nest-tree and had some cover from overhanging branches. There was a trend for the ibises building their nests in even closer proximity during the second pulse, perhaps as a strategy to lessen individual predation risks. Received 30 August 2000, accepted 4 October 2000.