Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Florida Roseate Spoonbill

One of the more colorful and popular birds that we have seen in our travels to Florida is the roseate spoonbill.
Spoonbills are found through out the Gulf of Mexico, Central and South America and the West Indies. In Florida we have seen these birds at the Everglades National Park, Merritt Island, and Ding Darling NWR, where these photographs were taken.
It is obvious where the spoonbill gets its name from. They use their long flat bill to stir up the water helping them to find he small invertebrates, fish, and crustaceans which they eat.
The feathers of the spoonbill become much more pink as they age, being mostly white when they are young. It is possible that a diet rich in shrimp, that feed on algae which produce red and yellow pigments called carotenoids, is what gives them their color.

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