Roseate spoonbills grow beautiful pink and white feathers. By Dominic Sherony
The roseate spoonbill is a bird with bright pink feathers that lives along the coasts of Florida, Texas, and Mexico. Spoonbills also live in coastal and interior regions of South America.
Roseate spoonbills have pink and white feathers, green heads, and bills that are narrow near their mouths and wider at the ends. Viewed from the front, the bills look a lot like spoons. Spoonbills are around three feet tall, and their wings stretch about four feet from end to end. Most roseate spoonbills weigh at most three pounds.
Roseate spoonbills feed by wading through shallow water and swinging their bills back and forth in the water or mud as they look for food. When a bird feels something in the mud, it quickly closes its beak around the object. If it is food, the bird eats it. Most of the animals that roseate spoonbills eat are small fish, but they occasionally eat snails, insects, and crustaceans.
Roseate spoonbills live in areas, or habitats, with warm temperatures, shallow and muddy water, and islands. Spoonbills build nests on the islands, where the nests are more likely to be safe from predators that live on the mainland.
Around 100 years ago, people hunted roseate spoonbills in Florida for their beautiful feathers. The feathers were used to decorate fashionable hats as well as fans that people used to cool themselves off when it was hot outside. Spoonbill feathers were so popular that in 1939, scientists counted only 30 birds in a part of Florida where there had previously been thousands of birds. People stopped hunting the birds and the roseate spoonbill population was able to recover.
Today, people are most worried about human-caused changes to spoonbill habitats that make it difficult for the birds to find enough food, build nests, and raise their young in safety.
Roseate spoonbills have long bills that get wider at the end and are shaped much like a spoon. By Dick Daniels
This spoonbill is wading through the water and using its beak to search for food. By Greg Lavaty
For references, please see the above link and the following book:
Person, Stephen. Roseate Spoonbill: Pretty In Pink. New York, NY: Bearport Publishing Company, 2013.