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Roseate spoonbill

Platalea ajaja

Roseate spoonbills at Paignton Zoo
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Birds
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Threskiornithidae

These unusual birds inhabit bays, lagoons, mudflats and coastal marches across South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Due to their wading nature and spending a lot of time by water, spoonbills feed on crustaceans, aquatic insects and small fish.

Interesting facts!

  • The spoon-shaped bill of this species helps the bird to sift through mud when in search of food. Interestingly, their nostrils are located at the base of the bill rather than at the end so that spoonbills can breathe even when their bill is in the water!
  • Much like flamingos, roseate spoonbills get their pink plumage from their diet through an organic pigment called carotenoid.
  • Spoonbills sleep standing up, usually on one leg with their head tucked in.


Roseate spoonbills are threatened by the destruction of their natural habitat. They also suffer from human disturbances, illegal hunting and the use of pesticides. Their current population in the wild is stable.