Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Platalea ajaja

Southern Swamps icon

Southern Swamps

Back To Animals


From a distance, a spoonbill might be confused with a flamingo due to its pink color. Upon closer inspection, the spoonbill is very distinct in appearance. It differs from the flamingo by its flat spoon-shaped bill, pale green featherless head, shorter neck, and darker feet. While feeding, a spoonbill wades through shallow water, sweeping its sensitive, half-open bill from side to side in the water or mud and snapping it shut when it touches its food. Typical food includes minnows and killifish, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic insects, and occasionally plants. Special pigments in the food give spoonbills their spectacular colors. During the late 1800s, roseate spoonbill numbers declined when hunters killed the birds and collected their feathers for the fashion industry. Their plumes were used in hats, and their wings were sold as fans. Protection efforts helped the birds to reestablish nesting colonies and their population has since recovered.

Our Animal's Story

There are two female spoonbills at ZooAmerica. Both female spoonbills hatched at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida. One (yellow band right leg and silver band left leg) has a hatch date of June 2012, and the second female (silver band right leg and yellow band left leg) hatched in June 2015. Try to identify the females by their different leg bands!

silhouette of mountain range