Roseate Spoonbill, Platalea ajaja


Roseate Spoonbill
In breeding plumage, shown in most of the pictures on this page, the bird is bright red in the tail coverts and upper wing coverts, pink in the rest of the wing feathers and the belly, white on the neck and mantle, with a patch of yellow-buff feathers near the bend in the wing; add red eyes and legs and a buff patch around the eyes and you have the whole riot of color. The bird "feeds by tactolocation: While walking, it swings its head and the slightly open 'spoon' of its bill in the water from side to side in a semicircular motion. The bill snaps shut when it contacts prey, mainly fish and aquatic invertebrates" (Birds of North America Online).


Roseate Spoonbill


Roseate Spoonbill


Roseate Spoonbill
Above, a spoonbill carrying twigs to build a nest; below, jousting with a Cattle Egret while gathering nesting material; both in March 2015 at the aptly named Stick Marsh, a popular Central Florida site for both bass fishing and photography of nesting waders.


Roseate Spoonbill and Cattle Egret

Roseate Spoonbills
James Shadle knows more about finding and photographing spoonbills on Tampa Bay than anyone else; it was from his boat, the Hooptie Deux, that in 2008 I was lucky enough to capture the fight between two male spoonbills shown above and below. For more pictures of the battle, see here .


Roseate Spoonbills


Roseate Spoonbill
A Roseate Spoonbill landing, wings fully extended, dwarfing a Snowy Egret.


Roseate Spoonbills


Roseate Spoonbills


Roseate Spoonbill