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Big Pink Bird with Large Bill - What is it?

Updated on November 15, 2015

Beautiful Pink Bird with Long Bill - Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill takes flight.
Roseate Spoonbill takes flight. | Source

The Very Best Bird Guide

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America

This is the go-to field guide when it comes to bird information and identification. Audubon is great, but their field guides...just aren't. This is the guide you want. Trust me on this.


These are the Roseate Spoonbills

Once a year, for about a week, tourists and locals line the highway beside a pond near my Florida home. Why have they stopped? Because they've seen a group of large pink birds with very long bills. Catagorized by some as the "world's weird birds," they are an amazing sight to see! I've even stopped by that tidal pond myself on one occasion. What are these huge pink birds? They are Roseate Spoonbills (Ajaja ajaja) and they are beautiful.

Sibley's Guide (learn about Sibley's Guide - see link to the right)calls them "uncommon in muddy ponds" and I have to agree. Even though we live here and have seen the Roseate Spoonbills on many many occasions we are always quick to point and shout "Roseate Spoonbill over there!"

They are lesser known than the flamingos, but I think many people think they are seeing Flamingos at first glance because of their pink color. I remember the first time I saw one in flight, it was in Jacksonville, Florida at a salt marsh. I was familiar with this bird and had studied it in my Sibley's field guide but had never seen one. In my excitement and haste I called out "It's a Spoonbill Roseate!" My daughter laughed because I had changed the words around. In any event, it was a marked day for me. This was a new bird.

How big is a Roseate Spoonbill?

Wingspan: 50 inches

Length (Height): 32 inches

Larger than the ibises and a little smaller than the Woodstork.

What does a Roseate Spoonbill eat?

Food: Fish and Invertibrates
As you'll see in the video below, the Roseate Spoonbill swings its head and large bill rhythmically from side to side sifting out small water creatures. They forage in shallow water in marshes and open mudflats.

Foraging Spoonbills

Beatiful Roseate Spoonbill Mug

If you are now hooked on the Roseate Spoonbill, here's a mug for you!
If you are now hooked on the Roseate Spoonbill, here's a mug for you! | Source

Coloring and Plummage

Color: Light to Dark Pink

Eye color: Pinkish in Adult

First and second year juveniles are light or pale pink and adults are bright pink.


Spoonbills fly with their necks extended forward, unlike the herons and egrets who fly with their necks tucked into their shoulders in an "S" shape.

Roseate Spoonbill Mousepad

Perfect gift for birdwatchers!
Perfect gift for birdwatchers! | Source

Have you ever seen this big pink unusual bird?

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      Lynn Conners 10 months ago

      Yes I seen one today for the very first time.

    • Retro Loco profile image

      Vicki 3 years ago from USA

      Very beautiful bird! I have seen hundreds of pink birds in south Louisiana while traveling, and I assumed they were flamingoes but maybe they were spoonbills? I couldn't get a close look because they were at a distance and my brother was driving...he won't stop for anything except food. :-)

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      komal 6 years ago

      I have seen roseate spoonbill..... really very beautifull..!

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      Jonathan 6 years ago

      This morning 12/23/2011 we had about 50 bird in our back yard which has a very small lake in the center of our yard. There blue harens, ducks, all kinds of water birds at least 10 different varieties and low and behold a beautiful light pink spoonbilled bird it look young. I came on this site to find what I had seen. Thank you for letting me know what I saw. Once in a life time thrill.

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      Dianne 6 years ago

      What a cool and unusual bird! I've never seen or heard of a roseate spoonbill before. Very interesting!

    • Susan52 profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago

      I've never seen a pink roseate spoonbill, but what a bird and what a name! Great information. Thanks!