Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja

Type of Animal:

Mangrove islands, mangroves/mangrove swamps, dredge-spoil islands, shallow coastal waters, coastal areas, shallow brackish/fresh/saltwater areas, marshes/marshlike areas, lakes, swamps, estuaries, intracoastal waterways, shallow bays, coastal bays, shallow roadside ditches, trees/shrubs along shallow water edges, lagoons, mudflats, mangrove keys, tidal ponds, shallow wetlands, willow areas, coastal islands in low mesquite/salt cedar scrub

SE US, Mexican & Central American coasts, Caribbean, N, C, & E South America, NW Pacific coast of South America, found as far south as CE Argentina & C Chile (only area in Chile where found though vagrants may occur elsewhere). Vagrant in inland Mexico, Baja California, on E seaboard as far N as New Jersey/SE Pennsylvania, as far N as Iowa/Nebraska/Indiana/S Illinois, California, Utah, other areas of Texas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, & Nevada.

Pale pink w/ brighter pink rump/shoulders, white neck/back/breast (central tuft pink feathers in breeding season), long gray spatulate bill, long legs, long neck, bare greenish head (golden buff in breeding season), necks grayer on younger animals, juveniles more whitish overall

Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects, amphibians, aquatic plant matter

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, aquariums, & wildlife centers

Roosts/flocks range from 2-400 birds. Breeding colonies range from 6-400 birds.

Additional Info:

Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Colony/Flock

2.64-3.96 lbs

2 weeks 

Life Span:
10-20 years

2.325-2.825 ft

Body Length:
2.325-2.825 ft

Tail Length:
0.3 in

Main predators of adults are crocodilians, felids, raptors, canids, bears, raccoons, otters, & larger snakes. Many snakes, vultures, & fire ants eat chicks.
Females lay clutches of 1-5 eggs.
Chicks can fly at 6 weeks old but stay w/ parents for another 1-2 months. Sexually mature at 4 months old, though many don’t breed until age 3.
Often seen w/ other waterbirds & breeding colonies often have other waterbird species.
Mostly silent, though they will make low grunting sounds when feeding.
They have 3.93-4.26 ft wingspan.
Courtship involves ritualized exchanges of nesting material, dancing, & bill clapping.
Male provides nesting material & female builds.
Only spoonbill species in W Hemisphere.

Fun Fact(s):
During breeding season, whole colony may suddenly fly up for no apparent reason & circle area.
Get pink coloration from foods they eat.
Spoon-shaped bill used to scoop up food from shallow water.
During the late 1800s, populations became dangerously low due to hunting for plumes.

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