Feb 072012

The Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) is a rather bizarre wading bird of Florida and Central and South America. This heron-sized member of the Ibis family (Threskiamithidae) is easily recognized by it’s pink plumage and spatulate bill.

Most often found swishing it’s bill from side to side as it wades in shallow pond edges and drainage ditches, it feeds on crustaceans, small fish and marine invertebrates.

The Spoonbill’s distinctive coloration, whichranges from very pale pink to dark magenta, is the result of it’s diet. Flying in a shallow wingbeat and gliding motion with outstretced neck, Spoonbills are often mistaken for Flamingoes.

Visitors to Florida are most likely to see Roseate Spoonbills in the Everglades, Big Cypress Preserve or the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.

Please visit “Field Notes and Photos” http://fieldnotes-steve.blogspot.com/ to see more of Florida’s flora and fauna.

Steven Scott

Steven Scott

Steven Scott is a photonaturalist blogger based in Florida and Maine. He has surveyed butterflies with Earthwatch Institute in the mountains of Vietnam, tagged juvenile snook with Mote Marine Laboratory in the mangroves of Florida and filmed a BioBlitz insect survey in Acadia National Park. A registered nurse and retired Army officer, Steven believes man is an integral part of nature and travels annually to Vietnam with humanitarian medical teams from Vets With a Mission.

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  5 Responses to “Roseate Spoonbill: Iconic Florida Wading Bird”

  1. Wow, nice pic. Is spoonbill bird protected animal and declared by IUCN as one of the endangered species?

    • Interestingly the Roseate Spoonbill is listed as of “least concern.” Although this species breeds only as far north as Florida in the US, it has a well established and healthy population in Central and South America. My anecdotal observations here in Florida tell me that the Spoonbill, and wading birds in general, are quite adaptable and have expanded their feeding areas from natural swamps to man-made catch basins and drainage ditches. Their rookeries however, are always a concern. Fortunately Florida has the Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress Preserve which provide nesting sites for many of our wading birds. Even better news is the restoration efforts in the Everglades to re-establish the natural water flow through our “river of grass.’ Great question and thanks for visiting Focusing on Wildlife.

  2. Great to see beutiful pictures of a spoonbill bird of Floria. I think Steve will have more beutiful photos when he has chances to take. I hope one day I will have an opportunity to vist Floria. Good luck with the next trip to Vietnam.

    • Thanks Lien! See you soon in Hanoi. Lien is an Phd entomologist working for Vietnam’s National Museum of Nature, and was the principal investigator on the Earthwatch Institute project “Butterflies of Vietnam.” I will be joining him this spring for a visit to Cuc Phuong National Park, which is home to an astounding and diverse biota.

  3. Ken Billington

    Steven, outstanding photos, the Roseate Spoonbill really is an iconic species. I once visited Sanibel Island but that was before I became obsessed by bird photography. In those days digital cameras hadn’t even been invented! Looks like I’ll have to put Florida on my travel itinerary!

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