Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)
(aka Ajaia ajaja)
Roseate Spoonbill, Taim, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image Brazil

The Roseate Spoonbill is the only spoonbill in the New World. It is also the only pink member of the six species family.

It is found from the southern USA to northern Argentina but is generally absent from the west coast of South America except in Ecuador and northern Peru.

Roseate Spoonbill, Taim, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image It feeds mainly on small fish and shrimps which it hunts by feel using the vibrator sensors in its bill so that, when prey enters the open bill, it snaps shut. The pink colouring is derived from the carotenoids of the shrimp.

The population of Roseate Spoonbills is declining in the Pantanal due to predation of eggs and chicks by the Crested Caracara (Polyborus plancus). The Spoonbill is less able to defend its nest from the Caracara than the sharper billed herons and storks.

Roseate Spoonbill, Brazil, Sept 2000 - click for larger image The 4th photo shows an almost white immature asleep.

There are illustrations in HBW, Volume 1, Pages 482 and 504; and Sick, Plate 3.

Immature Roseate Spoonbill, Cayo Coco, Cuba, February 2005 - click for larger image
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