Thursday, July 22, 2021

ROSEATE SPOONBILL

 We have learned that there are Roseate Spoonbills visiting Huntley Meadows, one of our favorite places we visit during the year.  There have been several photos local photographers have taken of them and shared on our local website.  I am not sure whether we will be able to get out there before they move on, and keeping fingers crossed!  In all the years we have been going to Huntley Meadows, this is the only time we have heard of them visiting.

Must be positive about it, however.  In the meantime...
I am resharing these shots of one we saw years ago in Florida.  You can read all about him at this link.  Such an extraordinary bird!
Did you know...

A group of spoonbills is a called a bowl.  Well, look over there, a bowl of spoonbills.  (I hope I see that bowl again one day.)

Just like Flamingos, Roseate Spoonbills get their pink color from their food.  They feed on crustaceans who in turn have fed on algae.

In parts of their range, especially in Florida, Roseate Spoonbills are sometimes confused with that large pink wading bird, the Flamingo!
There are six species of Spoonbill in the world; the Roseate Spoonbill is the only one with pink plumage.

The Roseate Spoonbill is also the only spoonbill species found in the Americas.

The beaks of chick Spoonbill are straight; the spoon-shape grows as the chick develops.
Spoonbills use their specialized bills to feed.  They sweep their open bills through the water, and when a prey item like a fish or insect comes between the mandibles, the bill snaps shut.

The oldest wild Roseate Spoonbill was discovered in the Florida Keys in 2006.  The bird had been banded in 1990, and was found to be 16 years old.  The previous known longevity record for the species was seven years.

Roseate Spoonbills are highly social.  They feed with each other and with other wading birds.  They also nest in colonies and fly in flocks.
The scientific name of a Roseate Spoonbill is Platalea ajaja, and is also known as Ajaia ajaja.  It is from the family Threskiornithidae, the family of spoonbills and ibises.

Roseate Spoonbills generally grow to be 23.6 to 31.5 inches (60 to 80 centimeters) in height, and have a wingspan of 43 to 51 inches (110 to 130 centimeters).

The plumage color of Roseate Spoonbills is a combination of pinks, whites and reds, and they often have some pale green, grey and orange features.

Roseate Spoonbills are wading birds and as such their diet consists primarily of aquatic insects, small fish and shrimp.
Something of the prehistoric when looking at these feet don't you think?  As mentioned above, Spoonbill are closely related to ibises whose fossil records are dated back 60 million years.  It is not known exactly when Spoonbills diverged from the ibises, since the fossil record is spotty.

A Spoonbill’s nostrils are located at the top of the bill, making it possible for the bird to breathe while the bill is under water.
  





32 comments:

  1. These are great pictures, and I have greatly enjoyed all the details in them! I had no idea a group is a bowl, the chicks have straight beaks,and there is more then one kind of them!

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    1. Thanks Ginny, so glad. I found a lot about them too which I enjoyed very much.

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  2. What an absolute charmer - and I love the collective name.

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    1. Thank you Sue, you described him perfectly :)

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  3. Wonderful shots. Looks ungainly, but I think that's part of the appeal.

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  4. How interesting and a pretty coloured bird. The photos are good Denise.

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  5. These pictures are wonderful. I get a close look at a bird I will likely never see. Love those pink feathers.

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    1. Hi Ann, thank you :) This bird seemed very used to people, though I didn't get too close. I had a zoom lens and I arrived just before feeding time :)

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  6. Hello Denise,
    The Roseate Spoonbills seem to be all over the area, a couple places in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Maybe they came up with storm Elsa and are hanging out for for the summer. Great photos and post on the Spoonbill. Take care, have a great day!

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    1. Hi Eileen and thank you for the information. You take care and have a great day also :)

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  7. I hope you make it to Huntley Meadows and see the Rosete Spoonbill there.

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  8. even the legs are pink, love the shot of the feet and legs and they are so beautiful and ugly at the same time. the ones I have seen here are bright pink, they live in a prserve on the edge of Tampa bay and the gulf comiing together and gets lots of food that makes them really pink. these are beautiful as they are

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    1. Thanks Sandra, I wish I could see your spoonbills down there. One day I hope :)

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  9. Excellent Photos Denise. I love Roseate Spoonbills but have never been close enough to get any good shots. Thanks for sharing these with us!

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    1. Thank you Martha and you are very welcome. They are a gorgeous bird aren't they?

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  10. Hello Denise,
    Super series of images of the Roseate Spoon bill, a bird I have never seen, they really are a beautiful bird,
    You both look after yourselves,
    Best wishes.
    John

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    1. Thank you John :) You take good care of yourself too. All the best!

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  11. So interesting to see what they look like.

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    1. I agree, they are so interesting to look at. Thanks Christine :)

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  12. What a treat to see the Spoonbill! I hope you are able to view them again, Denise. They are quite oddly lovely. Your photos are always superb!

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    1. Thank you Martha Ellen they are indeed and keeping my fingers crossed I get to see them again :)

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  13. Wow, such a great looking bird. It was fun to scroll through these photos.

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    1. Very glad you enjoyed them Ellen, thank you :)

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  14. These are really beautiful birds, Denise. How lucky you are to see them! And so close! Very nice photos.

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    1. Hi Jeanie, I agree about me being lucky to see them. I wasn’t as close as it looked though as I had my zoom lens. Still, close enough :)

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  15. I will never forget my utter amazement upon seeing these birds for the first time -- (on the Texas Gulf Coast before we began to spend time in Florida). Now that we have our winter place on the Canal I see them pretty often but never cease to be in awe. I hope you get to see them again.

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    1. Thank you Sallie, that sounds wonderful! I am happy to say that I did get to see these amazing birds. My post is scheduled for Tuesday, which as I am answering you, is only a few minutes from now :)

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  16. They are so cute and cool!!! Thanks for all the information Denise!!! Big Hugs!

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    1. You are very welcome MLC. So happy you enjoyed :) Big hugs, xo

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