The Roseate Spoonbill is a colorful pink and white wading bird with a very distinctive long grayish spoon shaped bill. The Roseate Spoonbill is a resident breeder in South America mostly east of the Andes, and in the coastal regions of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Gulf Coast of the United States and along Florida’s central Atlantic coast.
Roseate Spoonbills are very social and gregarious. They live, breed and travel in colonies. They inhabit marshes, swamps, ponds, and rivers within their range. The feed by wading in shallow water with their bill partially submerged. As a Roseate Spoonbill walks it swings its head back and forth in a sideways motion. When it feels a prey, it snaps its bill closed and pulls the prey out of the water to swallow it. The menu items consist of small fish, shrimp, mollusks, snail, and insects. The Roseate Spoonbill gets its pink color from the various kinds of food it eats.
The Roseate Spoonbill was once threatened by hunting. In the 1800’s the Spoonbill feathers were used in ladies hats and fans. By the early 20th century, the Roseate Spoonbill population had shrunk to only a few dozen nesting pairs in the U.S. due in part to a loss of habitat and pollution. Special protected areas were established in the 1940’s and the Roseate Spoonbills were made a protected species. Since this time the Roseate Spoonbill population has recovered