The Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja, sometimes separated in the monotypic genus Ajaja) is a wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family Threskiornithidae. It is a mainly resident breeder in South America, the Caribbean, and the Gulf coast of the USA.
The roseate spoonbill often nests in mangrove trees, laying 2-5 eggs.
Though often mistaken for a flamingo by the inexperienced, this species is unmistakable once you know how to identify it. It is 80cm tall, with a 120cm wingspan. It is long-legged, long-necked and has a long, spatulate bill. Adults have a bare greenish head, white neck, breast and back, and are otherwise a deep pink. The bill is grey.
Sexes are similar, but immature birds have white feathered heads and the pink of the plumage is paler. The bill is yellowish or pinkish. Unlike herons, spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched. In 2006, a banded bird 16 years old was discovered, the oldest known individual.
This species feeds in shallow fresh or coastal waters on fish, frogs and other water creatures, swinging its bill from side to side as it steadily walks through the water, often in groups.
A Roseate Spoonbill takes flight
A Roseate Spoonbill balancing on one leg.
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