Is it the luminous pale pink plumage with red highlights or the long bill with the spoon shaped tip that so enchants those lucky enough to view this long-legged wader that is a member of the ibis family?
The roseate spoonbill is a resident breeder in South America, generally east of the Andes, and coastal areas of Central America, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico (Dumas 2000). Mangrove islands and occasionally dredge-spoil islands are the preferred nesting habitat for the species. In Florida, the species is found in Florida Bay, Tampa Bay, and Brevard County.
The spatulate bill of this species has an important function. It has sensitive nerve endings that help the spoonbill detect prey. As it sweeps the bill from side to side through shallow water, the spoonbill encounters small fish, shrimp, crayfish, fiddler crabs and aquatic insects, which it snaps up and swallows.