Wild Fact #581 – Deciding Between a Spoon or Fork is Easy – Roseate Spoonbill

Photo by Mwanner (Wikimedia)

Can you believe it is Friday already? I know, I can’t believe it either but I am definitely looking forward to the weekend.  To close out the week, we are going to learn about the Roseate Spoonbill.  So what is a Roseate Spoonbill?  Well they are a large, social wading bird that can be found from the Gulf Coast all the way down to Argentina. So it looks like we are all going for a quick trip to sunny south to wade in the water and learn about the Spoonbill.

If you haven’t guess by now these birds received their Spoonbill name from the bizarre spatula-like bill that they all possess.  This odd shaped bill makes it easier for the Roseate Spoonbill to catch yummy critters in the water.  Typically, they are looking for small fish to satisfy their dieting needs, however, they will also feed on shrimp, insects and of course aquatic vegetation. Not only does this spoon-like bill help scoop up small organisms but their bill also has numerous nerve endings which causes it to quickly snap shut.  This ensures that they catch that tasty aquatic organism they were looking for.  How about that, not only do they never have to fumble for utensils but their spoon actually does all of the work for them.

Photo by Peter Wallack (Wikimedia)

I mentioned that the Roseate Spoonbill is a social or gregarious bird and I was telling the truth.  They are known to be colonial nesting birds so there is always other wading birds in the area.  In fact, it is quite common to see Snowy Egrets, Herons and even Pelicans hanging out in the same area as our pink Spoonbill.  Usually, the Roseate Spoonbill will gather in small flocks to feed together, however, they will occasionally feed on their own as well.

Roseate Spoonbill Fast Fact – It is believed that the Roseate Spoonbill has pink colouring as a result of the algae that their aquatic prey typically feeds on.  How is that for showing how important the food chain can be.  You impact one organism at the lower end of the food chain and it will affect the animals that depend on them.

Well that does it for another week of Wild Facts.  Enjoy your weekend and I will see you on Monday.

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