Roseate spoonbill

Platalea ajaja

Spoonbills get their name from the shape of their bill. They are experts at filtering mud, where they find the small invertebrates on which they feed. Their diet also includes fish and amphibians.


The roseate spoonbill can be found over a very wide area, stretching from the southern USA, through Central America and different islands in the Caribbean down to northern Argentina. They raise their young in more or less numerous colonies and nest in trees and bushes in areas close to water.

Natural habit

Wetlands from southern United States to northern Argentina.

Roseate spoonbill
  • Distribution / Resident
  • Breeding
  • Wintering
  • Subspecies

Risk level

  • Extint
  • Extint in the wild
  • Critically endangered
  • In Danger
  • Vulnerable
  • Near threatened
  • Minor concern
  • Insufficient data
  • Not evaluated
Least Concern

Taxonomy

Class
Aves
Order
Ciconiiformes
Family
Columbidae

Physical characteristics

1-1,5 kg
Birth Weight:
70 - 95 cm
More than 28 years

Biology

Habitat
Wetlands
Social life
Gregarious
Feeding
Filtering

Reproduction

Gestation
21-23
Days
Baby
1 a 5

Discover how they are

Biology

Description

The name of this species refers to the distinctive shape of its bill. Its plumage is pink, with different hues in the wings and the breast. Its head is grey, the nape black and its neck and back are white. Its legs and fingers have an intense pink colour. Its eyes are red.

Habitat

Its distribution area is very wide, for it spreads from southern United States and northern Mexico, through Central America and different Caribbean islands, to northern Argentina, occupying all kinds of aquatic environments of both fresh and salty water.

Feeding

Its bill is very specialized in filtering silt, where small invertebrates on which it feeds are found. It completes its diet with fish and amphibians.

Reproduction

It breeds in more or less numbered colonies and builds its nests on the top of bushes and trees close to water. It builds a nest in a platform made of branches and plants, where it lays two to three eggs that it broods for 22 days.

Conduct

It is considered to be sedentary, only partially migrating to the most northern parts of its distribution area. It hibernates in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Central America.

Status and conservation programs

Although it was hunted by humans during the last century for its feathers, which are highly valuable to hat manufacturers, it is still a common species in many regions of its distribution area. However, it is disappearing in many other zones, due to the destruction of its habitat.