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Roseate Spoonbill

The roseate spoonbill is the only spoonbill endemic (native) to the Western Hemisphere (Bjork and Powell 1996).  This species can reach a length of 30-40 inches (76-102 centimeters) with a wingspan of 50-53 inches (127-135 centimeters).  It has pink wings and underparts (with some red on the tops of the wings) with a white neck and back, and pinkish legs and feet.  While the species looks almost entirely pink in flight, they actually have no feathers at all on their heads. The pink coloration comes from the organisms on which they feed, which are full of caroteniods (organic pigment) (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, n.d.).  As the name implies, the roseate spoonbill also has a large, spoon-shaped bill, which it sweeps back and forth in shallow water to capture prey.

The roseate spoonbill is a resident breeder in South America, generally east of the Andes, and coastal areas of Central America, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico (Dumas 2000).  Mangrove islands and occasionally dredge-spoil islands are the preferred nesting habitat for the species.  In Florida, the species is found in Florida Bay, Tampa Bay, and Brevard County.