White Ibis and Roseate Spoonbills
at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, FL, USA
The roseate spoonbill is a member of the ibis family but you wouldn’t think so because of its luminous pale pink plumage with red highlights or the long bill with the spoon-shaped tip. 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.
The diet of the white ibis primarily consists of crabs, crayfish, fish, snakes, frogs and insects. This species is found throughout most of Florida. The main threat to both birds is loss of coastal habitat and freshwater feeding areas to development.
In Florida, ook for flocks of ibis and spoonbills at Fort De Soto County Park in Pinellas County or Dinner Island Ranch Wildlife Management Area in Hendry County.
Photo by MyFWC - GFBT
(via: My Florida Wildlife Commission)