Florida Fauna & Flora – Roseate Spoonbill
One of Florida’s most unique and colorful birds is the roseate spoonbill. This species is the only spoonbill that is native to the Western Hemisphere. It has pink wings, long pink legs and a white neck and back. There is no color difference between males and females of the species.
Spoonbills get their name from their spoon-shaped bill. This bird uses its bill to sweep side to side to capture prey in shallow water. The bird’s pink color comes from the organisms they eat that are full of organic pigments called carotenoids.
Roseate spoonbills have a wingspan of 50 to 53 inches and grow to a length of 30 to 40 inches. Males retrieve nest-building materials while females build the nest. Females lay no more than 3 eggs, and both parents help with incubation duties while waiting about 24 days for the eggs to hatch.
Fun Fauna Fact: Roseate spoonbills were once threatened by hunters for their feathers. Because this practice is now illegal, the population has rebounded. The bird is still protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and is a Florida Threatened species.
Read the full April 2021 SECO News online.