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Roseate Spoonbill

ID Info
Silhouette SpoonbillsSpoonbills
Roseate SpoonbillPlatalea ajaja
  • ORDER: Pelecaniformes
  • FAMILY: Threskiornithidae

Basic Description

The flamboyant Roseate Spoonbill looks like it came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book with its bright pink feathers, red eye staring out from a partly bald head, and giant spoon-shaped bill. Groups sweep their spoonbills through shallow fresh or salt waters snapping up crustaceans and fish. They fly with necks outstretched, to and from foraging and nesting areas along the coastal southeastern U.S., and south to South America. These social birds nest and roost in trees and shrubs with other large wading birds.

More ID Info
image of range map for Roseate Spoonbill
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

For most people, finding a Roseate Spoonbill requires a trip to the southeastern coast of the United States or even farther afield to Mexico or Central and South America. Look for groups of pink birds foraging in the shallows of fresh and saltwater, often with egrets and ibises nearby. They are usually busy foraging with their spoon-shaped bill under the water, so the bill might not be the first thing to tip you off. Unlike herons and egrets, they typically hold their bodies horizontally when foraging. This unique posture can help you pick them out from afar. If you don't catch them foraging check nearby mangrove, cypress, or willows for birds noisily roosting in trees.

Other Names

  • Espátula Rosada (Spanish)
  • Spatule rosée (French)
  • Cool Facts