Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Roseate Spoonbill

Binomial name: Platalea ajaja

This wading bird is mainly a resident breeder in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and the Gulf coast of the USA.

Roseate Spoonbill nests in mangrove trees, laying 2-5 eggs. It does not usually share colonies with storks or herons.

This species is unmistakable. 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.

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.

(Text: wikipedia.org / Photo: NASA)

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