roseate spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Platalea ajaja

CLASS Aves | ORDER Ciconiiformes | FAMILY Threskiornithidae

RANGE Southern United States, West Indies, Mexico, and Central to South America

HABITAT Freshwater and saltwater wetlands

DIET Small fish, shrimp, crustaceans, mollusks, and other small aquatic animals

2.6 - 4 lbs

28 - 34 in

47.2 - 51.2 in

22 - 24 days

3 eggs

IUCN Status
Least Concern
roseate spoonbill

Of the six species of spoonbills, only the roseate spoonbill inhabits the Western Hemisphere. Its hot pink highlights on its back and wings comes from the food the spoonbill eats, namely shrimp.

Its long straight bill with spatulate tip has sensitive nerves that help identify food in murky water and dim light. The spoonbill can breathe while its bill is under water because its nares (nostrils) are located at the top of the bill.

roseate spoonbill

The spoonbill was nearly wiped out in the early 1900's by plume hunters who used the feathers for ladies hats. Through legal protection the species has slowly recovered.