Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja)
Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaja
Sound (67 KB)
32 inches (81 cm) W 50 inches (127 cm)
• Pink body with red highlights
• Long, spoon-shaped bill
• White neck
• Head greenish (buffy in breeding season), no feathers
• Sexes similar
• Large, long-legged wader with a long neck
• Long, spatulate bill
• Holds neck extended in flight
• Red eyes
• Bill grayish with dark mottling
• Head greenish and unfeathered with black nape band
• White neck and back
• Pink back and wings
• Legs red, feet dark
• Yellow eyes
• Bill yellowish
• White or very pale pink body plumage
• White feathered head
• No other bird in North America has a similar bill. Flamingos are also long-legged pink wading birds but have short, thick, hooked bills and black in the flight feathers.
Locally common in marshes, tidal ponds, sloughs and mangrove swamps along the Gulf Coast. May feed in shallow brackish or salt water and occasionally fresh water by swinging their unusual bills in long arcs from side to side. Feeds alone or in small groups. Frequently seen in company of other wading birds.
NESTING & FEEDING:
BREEDING: Marsh, swamp, pond, river, lagoon. 1 brood. Mating system is monogamous.
DISPLAYS: Pair bonding includes stick presentation, bill clappering, close perching. Copulation at nest. Nest relief call.
NEST: In branches of dense vegetation above water, occasionally on ground; well built, deeply cupped, stick, twig platform. Lined with green and dry finer materials. Male presents nest materials to female, she builds.
EGGS: three dirty white, marked with brown, occasionally wreathed. 2.6" (65 mm).
CHICK DEVELOPMENT: Both sexes incubate. Incubation takes 22-23 days. Development is semialtricial (immobile, downy, eyes open, fed). Young are able to fly after 35-42 days. Both sexes tend young.
DIET: Sweeps bill through water snapping it shut on fish, crustaceans, insects, detected by feel. Few aquatic plants. Grunts while hunting.
CONSERVATION: Winter resident. Populations decimated for wing feathers used in ladies' fans. Expanded range since 1940 but drainage for mosquito control and real estate development continue to threaten foraging habitat.
NOTES: Nests in small colonies, often mixed with herons, egrets. Nest relief 2-3 times daily. Juveniles tagged in Florida disperse up to 250 miles, return in fall. Usually in small flocks. Although eggs in some areas show relatively high pesticide levels, nest success not impaired; apparently less sensitive than some other species of waterbirds.
Ajaia ajaja ROSEATE SPOONBILL. Marshes, swamps, ponds, lagoons, mangroves. Locally in lowlands to 1000 m. Coastal Texas, sw Louisiana, s,sc Florida; Cuba and Isle of Pines; Hispaniola; Great Inagua in s Bahamas. South locally in coastal Mexico from n Sinaloa through Middle America to Panama, and from n,e Colombia, Venezuela and Guianas s, east of the Andes through e Ecuador, e Peru, n,e,se Bolivia and Brazil to Paraguay, Uruguay and n Argentina s to Córdoba and Buenos Aires; west of Andes in w Ecuador and nw Peru; c Chile (recorded in Coquimbo in 1989 Cotinga 2:28). Vagrant (sometimes many) to s Calif., rarely to c Calif. Sometimes placed in Platalea.