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Roseatte Spoonbill by John Burgess

Spoonbill, Roseate

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Description

The Roseate Spoonbill is the only pink spoonbill. The facial skin is partly orange yellow during courtship; the bill is a uniform greyish color, with a distinctive spoonbill shape. Feathers on the neck are whitish pink. Their eyes are red and the head is partly bald.

Classification

Class
Aves
Order
Pelecaniformes
Family
Threskiornithidae
Genus
Platalea
Species
P. ajaja
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
80 cm (931 in)
Weight
1400 g (3 pounds)

Social Life
Roseate Spoonbills forage in small flocks in shallow water. While foraging they may see other spoonbills flying overhead; they raise their necks and bills straight up in their air. This is called “sky gazing.”

Habitat and Range
Roseate Spoonbills are found in tidal ponds, mangrove swamps and other coastal areas with salt or brackish water in the southeast United States, the West Indies and Central America and South America east of the Andes. These spoonbills nest in colonies. They are mostly sedentary, with some seasonal movement for food. Immature and non-breeding adults disperse through the home range. Little is known about their movements in South America.

Diet
Crustaceans, water beetles and other insects, mollusks and slugs and some water plants. They feed primarily by touch, moving their bill sideways through the water(head-swinging), often fully submerging their head and neck. The bill is partly open and closes on things that touch the inside of the spoon, which has many vibration detectors. Spoonbills sometimes engage in running or hopping behavior. This is called “Disturb and Chase” feeding, to overtake moving prey.

Lifespan
About 15-20 years.

Predators
Primarily humans. Between 1880 and 1930 numbers declined drastically due to hunting for use of feathers. The birds were legally protected in the 1940s and have now made a comeback. Scientists are still concerned that habitat loss and alteration of breeding and feeding habits will lead to decline again.

Reproduction
To attract the female, the male spoonbill bobs its head up and down while shaking twigs. Once the female is interested, he offers her the sticks and she accepts, often biting his bill. Platform nests of sticks and twigs lined with soft material such as grass are built on coastal islands and in wetlands on low trees or thick bushes. Spoonbills nest in colonies with other waterbirds such as herons, storks and cormorants. The main egg-laying period is from the end of the rainy season to the dry season (usually October through December). Females lay 2-3 eggs, which hatch at about 22 days. Chicks fledge at 6 weeks. Both parents care for the eggs and chicks. Sexual maturity is about 3 years.

Information

Description

The Roseate Spoonbill is the only pink spoonbill. The facial skin is partly orange yellow during courtship; the bill is a uniform greyish color, with a distinctive spoonbill shape. Feathers on the neck are whitish pink. Their eyes are red and the head is partly bald.

Classification

Class
Aves
Order
Pelecaniformes
Family
Threskiornithidae
Genus
Platalea
Species
P. ajaja
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
80 cm (931 in)
Weight
1400 g (3 pounds)

Social Life
Roseate Spoonbills forage in small flocks in shallow water. While foraging they may see other spoonbills flying overhead; they raise their necks and bills straight up in their air. This is called “sky gazing.”

Habitat and Range
Roseate Spoonbills are found in tidal ponds, mangrove swamps and other coastal areas with salt or brackish water in the southeast United States, the West Indies and Central America and South America east of the Andes. These spoonbills nest in colonies. They are mostly sedentary, with some seasonal movement for food. Immature and non-breeding adults disperse through the home range. Little is known about their movements in South America.

Diet
Crustaceans, water beetles and other insects, mollusks and slugs and some water plants. They feed primarily by touch, moving their bill sideways through the water(head-swinging), often fully submerging their head and neck. The bill is partly open and closes on things that touch the inside of the spoon, which has many vibration detectors. Spoonbills sometimes engage in running or hopping behavior. This is called “Disturb and Chase” feeding, to overtake moving prey.

Lifespan
About 15-20 years.

Predators
Primarily humans. Between 1880 and 1930 numbers declined drastically due to hunting for use of feathers. The birds were legally protected in the 1940s and have now made a comeback. Scientists are still concerned that habitat loss and alteration of breeding and feeding habits will lead to decline again.

Reproduction
To attract the female, the male spoonbill bobs its head up and down while shaking twigs. Once the female is interested, he offers her the sticks and she accepts, often biting his bill. Platform nests of sticks and twigs lined with soft material such as grass are built on coastal islands and in wetlands on low trees or thick bushes. Spoonbills nest in colonies with other waterbirds such as herons, storks and cormorants. The main egg-laying period is from the end of the rainy season to the dry season (usually October through December). Females lay 2-3 eggs, which hatch at about 22 days. Chicks fledge at 6 weeks. Both parents care for the eggs and chicks. Sexual maturity is about 3 years.