Posts Tagged: Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill in flight with wings in downstroke

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Roseate Spoonbill in flight with wings in downstroke and trees in background (sandra calderbank)

I captured this Roseate Spoonbill in flight with its wings in downstroke at the Stick Marsh as it returned to its nesting area in the Mangroves. There is a small island at the entrance to the Stick Marsh where many Roseate Spoonbills nest at the waters edge in colonies along with other water birds. The Roseate Spoonbill is a distinctive water bird with bright pink shoulders. Adults have a bald greenish-colored head, a beak that is large and spoon-shaped, and red eyes. Juvenile birds are recognizable by their pale pink shoulders and feathered head. Like the American Flamingo, their pink color comes from their crustacean diet.





Roseate SpoonBill with nesting material

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Roseate Spoonbill with wings aloft,standing in grass at water's edge with nesting material in beak (sandra calderbank)


I went to the Stick Marsh in Fellsmere, Florida, hoping to photograph nesting birds.The Roseate Spoonbills were very active. Roseate Spoonbills build their nests in the shady areas of the trees, usually mangroves. They prefer to construct their nests over the water or on an island. I noticed this one pulling up a stick at the water’s edge. The Spoonbill flew away from me back towards the island. The male typically gathers the sticks to hand over to his chosen potential mate, and the female constructs the nest, so I assume this Roseate Spoonbill is a male. 

Roseate Spoonbill feeding with bill in water

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Roseate Spoonbill wading, feeding with bill in water

I was roaming around a wetland in Florida and found this Roseate Spoonbill wading in the water, feeding with its bill in the water. He or she looked toward me but proceeded to feed by sweeping that huge spatulate shaped spoonbill through the water back and forth. They as surprisingly effective feeders because the nerve endings in the bill sense prey and snap the bill shut on everything it encounters. This is the only spoonbill native to North America and the only pink wading bird native to North America.


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Roseate Spoonbill in flight, descending against soft blue sky (sandra calderbank)
There isn’t very much in nature that is naturally pink except for flowers so who can resist a pink bird?
The Roseate Spoonbill has bright pink wings and dark pink “shoulders”. These birds have a large spatula shaped bill and a naked head. The spoonbill makes it easy for them to catch  the crustaceans they love to eat. They are wading birds, and the only Spoonbill species in the Western Hemisphere.  These large birds are a beautiful shade of pink apparently because of their diet but they are gorgeous in flight and they are PINK!