Created on Day 5
September 28, 2012
The roseate spoonbill feeds by wading slowly through the water, sweeping its long bill from side to side, capturing insects, minnows, plants, and small crustaceans.
- The roseate spoonbill has a greenish unfeathered head, white neck and back, pink wings and underparts, and red legs and eyes. Feathers on its shoulders can be red during breeding.
- Its most distinctive feature is its gray spoon-shaped bill, which is very long.
- The roseate spoonbill makes strange, guttural noises while it eats.
- The roseate spoonbill’s pink coloration comes from the carotenoid pigments contained in the organisms in its diet.
- It flies in diagonal formation with other spoonbills.
- In the 1800s, roseate spoonbills were nearly hunted to extinction because their beautiful pink feathers were highly prized for women’s hats and fans.
CLASS: Aves (birds)
ORDER: Ciconiiformes (storks, herons, and relatives)
FAMILY: Threskiornithidae (ibises and spoonbills)
GENUS/SPECIES: Ajaia ajaja
Average 2.5 ft (0.8 m)
Diet: Mainly aquatic insects, also crayfish, shrimp, fish, and occasionally mollusks and plant matter
Habitat: Inland wetlands with fresh or brackish water from Florida and the Gulf Coast of Texas to Central and South America