Bird Species Profile: Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbills are one of the most beautiful bird species that we can see in the US.

Rob Ripma

Whenever I travel to the Gulf Coast, one of the birds that I look most forward to seeing is Roseate Spoonbill. This bird species is an incredibly beautiful pink color with a large spoon-shaped bill, as its name suggests. It’s a very striking bird that has made me stop in my tracks more than once as a flock flew over my head.

Roseate Spoonbills are incredibly beautiful birds!

Roseate Spoonbills are incredibly beautiful birds!

As you might suspect, the shape of the bill is helpful when this species is looking for food. The Roseate Spoonbill swings its bill back and forth through the water in search of food. The large bill probes the bottom and once the bird feels a prey item, the bill snaps shut around it. Among other things, they prey on crustacians, which is also what gives them their pink color.

In the United States, it’s easiest to spot a spoonbill along the Texas and Louisiana coasts as well as along both the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts of Florida. The species can also be found throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and South America as far south as Argentina. Although they are less common inland, they do show up in strange places from time to time. We had one in Indiana several years ago that stayed at Goose Pond FWA for about 3 months!

I love watching Roseate Spoonbills in flight!

I love watching Roseate Spoonbills in flight!

Have you ever seen Roseate Spoonbills? If so, where?

  1. carol powell says

    yes! I see them quite frequently along the Crystal River when we are out on our boat here in Florida. Such beauties!

  2. Terry says

    I saw roseate spoonbills at Shark Valley in the Everglades in early March of this year and a few in South Padre in late February of 2013.

  3. Jean says

    I wss living in Florida about 10 min. from the Gulf. I noticed after a rain storm. There was one walking & sticking his or her spoonbill back & forth in the large pond in our front yard. The pond never stayed very long. But it found it anyway. Such a cool bird.

  4. Jean says

    I used to live in FL near the Gulf. After a good rain a beauty of a spoonbill was digging in a large puddle pond in our front yard. Just breathtaking.

  5. Andrea Adams says

    Spot a flock in Jacksonville,Fl north side of St John’s River off Hecksher Drive @ Sister’s Creek area. Spotted then 4weeks ago and again just last week on low tide feeding around the oyster beds.
    Absolutely beautiful! I have pictures!

  6. Cynthia Carnahan says

    While birding in Port Aransas, TX this past February, we saw flocks of these lovlies flying overhead. The whole sky was filled with their gorgeous pink plummage.

  7. Donna Marie says

    There are a few in the Rainforest habitat at The Buffalo Zoo Buffalo NY. It’s an excellent exibit

  8. Louise says

    I have seen these birds on Pleasure Island in Pt. Arthur, TX as well as in Galveston, TX Beautiful Bird.

    I just wish I were financially able to subscribe to Birds and Blooms magazine again. I did love the magazine. Still enjoy reading comments on fb.

  9. John says

    A large flock in the Oyster Bay subdivision, about a mile from Amelia Island, Florida. They could be found along the lakes and shoreline there all summer.

  10. Jessie says

    I saw one about a month ago in Palm Coast Florida :) I live across from the beach and like a minute from Marineland….usually people see them a little north of here so it was a nice surprise!! :) It’s the first time I have seen one in the wild! :)

  11. Marci Hollemans says

    They are regulars at Myakka River State Park near Sarasota, FL. We’ve also seen them in Bradenton, FL at Coquinna Beach and also just inland off the bays.

  12. Laurie Martin says

    I live near the Lake Sabine in Tx. and many wading birds are seen here. Not as many since the flood. Perhaps their food supply was disturbed.

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