Roseate Spoonbill – Sarasota, Florida


I was checking the mailbox today and spied this roseate spoonbill — I have not seen many this year, and never a one near the house.  But this makes it a pretty amazing bird year just within a hundred feet of the front door: bald eagles, wood storks, spoonbills… not to mention the usual gang of hawks, wrens and woodpeckers.

More from Wikipedia:

The Roseate Spoonbill is 71–86 cm (28–34 in) long, with a 120–133 cm (47–52 in) wingspan and a body mass of 1.2–1.8 kg (2.6–4.0 lb). The tarsus measures 9.7–12.4 cm (3.8–4.9 in), the culmen measures 14.5–18 cm (5.7–7.1 in) and the wing measures 32.3–37.5 cm (12.7–14.8 in) and thus the legs, bill, neck and spatulate bill all appear elongated. Adults have a bare greenish head (“golden buff” when breeding) and a white neck, back, and breast (with a tuft of pink feathers in the center when breeding), and are otherwise a deep pink. The bill is grey. There is no significant sexual dimorphism.

Like the American Flamingo, their pink color is diet-derived, consisting of the carotenoid pigment canthaxanthin. Another carotenoid, astaxanthin, can also be found deposited in flight and body feathers. The colors can range from pale pink to bright magenta, depending on age and location. Unlike herons, spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched. They alternate groups of stiff, shallow wingbeats with glides.

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About Steve White

Steve White is an award-winning nature photographer. He has worked with a range of environmental organizations, including the Long Island Soundkeeer and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (NYC). Additionally, he has led nature hikes and has served as a guide for the Nature Conservancy and Florida State Parks, as well as other local organizations.