Adult Roseate Spoonbill on the Gulf Coast

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Roseate Spoonbills/Adult Roseate Spoonbill on the Gulf Coast

Adult Roseate SpoonbillAdult Roseate Spoonbill on the Gulf Coast – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Some people think the featherless heads of Roseate Spoonbills are ugly but I think that everything about them is wonderful. Of the six species of Spoonbills only the Roseate Spoonbill is found in North America and it is the only Spoonbill that is so vividly colored. Their pink coloration comes from their diet which includes crustaceans. One of the nicknames for Roseate Spoonbills is “Flame Bird” and when I looked at the vivid crimson feathers of the scapulars it is easy to see why they were given that name.

I photographed this Roseate Spoonbill on a warm April morning at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach near a tidal lagoon that had sand dunes at the north end of it. That morning I had about ten minutes with several Roseate Spoonbills and a white morph Reddish Egret before a tourist walked up behind me and shouted “Is that a Flamingo?” which scared all of the birds away. I’m still grateful for the few minutes I had them in my viewfinder.



  1. Bryce November 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    In awe… the detail and lighting is exceptional. Glad you had the moment with this bird before the overly enthusiastic tourist spoiled the fun.

  2. [email protected] November 9, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Are their heads featherless for a reason? I realize this is the case with Turkey Vultures (their style of eating precludes having nice hair dos) — but I’ve never seen a Roseate Spoonbill in person and don’t know enough about them. Lovely image — vicarious enjoyment in seeing your depictions.

  3. Elephant's Child November 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    What an incredible bird. And an equally (but opposite) incredible tourist.

  4. Wally November 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Mia, superb photograph of the Flamingo! 🙂

    Whether adults in high breeding plumage or the more subdued juveniles, watching these birds swing their bills back and forth in shallow water is a sight I could enjoy for hours (sans les tourists).

  5. Bob Bushell November 7, 2013 at 8:00 am


  6. biobabbler November 7, 2013 at 7:20 am

    I can’t imagine EVER complaining about any aspect of a spoonbill. They’re BIG, PINK BIRDS, for heaven’s sake. I’ve only seen them a few times, and even from far away, it’s a thrill. FABULOUS photo.

    That moment w/the tourist is a classic. “HAVE YOU SEEN ANY BIRDS?!? WE CAN’T SEEM TO FIND ANY!!!!”

    Perchance you could stop screaming… =)

  7. Montanagirl November 7, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Fabulous photo of a gorgeous bird! Don’t you just love tourists that do that? NOT!!

  8. patty chadwick November 7, 2013 at 6:32 am

    It’s amazing how obtuse some people can be! I was trying to photograph a white-tailed deer in the Adirondack mountains and had gotten quite close, when a similar jerk sneaked up behind me and started throwing McDonald’s french fries at it! This is beautiful shot. I’m glad you got it…

  9. Joshua Phillips November 7, 2013 at 6:21 am

    This is spectacular Mia! I don’t think I’ve seen a more appealing roseate spoonbill image. Great work!

  10. judy watson November 7, 2013 at 6:20 am

    A beautiful photo of it.
    Too bad about the tourist. At least you got this fab photo.

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