Is That a Flamingo?

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No it is a distant cousin, the Roseate Spoonbill, Ajaia ajaja. Don’t you just love the Latin name? But lots of visitors to Florida easily make that mistake, especially when the birds are in flight.

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This one was visiting the lake in my backyard, so I snapped a few photos. What a beautiful bird from a distance. Up close, not so much, unless you ignore it’s bald head. The bill however is very interesting, and lives up to its name. The bill looks like two spoons that fit together one atop of the other. The unusual beak shape and bald head serve the bird well since it spends much of its time feeding by churning up the water along the shoreline. The spoonbill’s diet consists what it can stir up: small fish, crayfish, some vegetation and bugs.

Here are some photos I snapped before it flew away:

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Aren’t those wings just beautiful? No wonder they were hunted almost to extinction for their feathers, for ladies’ fancy hats. I am very happy to say since they have been protected their numbers are rebounding.

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