A bizarre wading bird of the southern coasts, the Roseate Spoonbill uses its odd bill to strain small food items out of the water. Its bright pink coloring leads many tourists to think they have seen a flamingo.
The adult Roseate Spoonbill is among the most striking North American birds. Nearly three feet tall, adults have long reddish legs, a pink body, and pink wings with deep red highlights. The neck and breast are mostly white, and there are touches of orange on the rump, face, and shoulders. Most unusual is the unfeathered head, which can be yellow or greenish, and the long, spatulate bill, for which the species is named. With a wingspan of about 50 inches, adult spoonbills weigh over three pounds. Immature birds are paler overall, with feathered white heads.
The Roseate Spoonbill is at once beautiful and bizarre. Its rose-colored plumage is striking even from a distance. Viewed more closely, the bald greenish head and unusual spoon-shaped bill of this elegantly plumed bird are apparent. Thanks to conservation efforts, the species has recovered significantly from near-decimation during the plume-hunting era.
Here are a couple of images of a Roseate Spoonbill that I took at Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina: