Pink Birds of the Everglades: Studies of Roseate Spoonbills and American Flamingos

December 10, 2019 @ 7:00PM — 8:30PM

Evening Talk with the Dr. Jerry Lorenz, Director of Research, Audubon Florida

Pink Birds of the Everglades: Studies of Roseate Spoonbills and American Flamingos  image

AWE December Evening Talk

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Dr. Jerry Lorenz will educate us on his research he is conducting on Roseate Spoonbills and the American Flamingos in Southwest Florida.

For instance, flamingos and roseate spoonbills – two pink, long-legged wading birds with similar-looking heads, wing shapes and plumage – are not related as previously thought. Flamingos, it turns out, belong to the Metaves, while spoonbills belong to the Coronaves.

With their long legs and rosy pink color, it’s easy to understand why roseate spoonbills (Platalea ajaja), a waterbird species that lives in coastal areas of the southeast U.S. and Caribbean, are often mistaken for flamingos.

On their website, Audubon describes them as “gorgeous at a distance and bizarre up close.” But let’s be honest, in the world of weird-looking birds, roseate spoonbills are in good company. (I mean, have you ever seen a shoebill stork?)

Like flamingos, spoonbills’ coloration comes from carotenoid pigments in their diet, which consists primarily of aquatic invertebrates and small fish. Their feathers can range in color from bright magenta to pale pink, depending on age and location.

Their spoon-shaped bill is unmistakable, however. Although the long, flat, spoon-shaped bill may seem downright strange and even impractical, it actually serves an important purpose. The bill shape helps the birds to detect, trap, and strain fish and invertebrates out of the shallow, muddy water where they forage.

Like other colonial waterbirds, roseate spoonbills can usually be found in small flocks among other wading birds like egrets, nesting and foraging in the same area.

If you thought these facts were interesting come to our talk and learn much, much more!