PSA: Pink birds in Lowcountry marshes are not flamingos (but they are cool)

Local News

In this Nov. 8, 2018 photo from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries roseate spoonbills fly over grasslands at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, in southwest Louisiana. What used to be Louisiana’s largest state wildlife refuge is celebrating its centennial on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries via AP)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Several social media posts have been popping up lately claiming to show flamingos wading in the Lowcountry marshes.

Unless some flamingos have recently escaped from a nearby zoo, the posts are wrong. Instead, the birds are more likely Roseate Spoonbills.

Roseate spoonbills are medium-sized birds, reaching up to 2.5 feet in height, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo. American Flamingos, however, are much larger, with an average height of 5 feet.

Like flamingos, roseate spoonbills have pink feathers. Both birds are believed to get their coloring from their diets, which consist largely of crustaceans.

Unlike flamingos, roseate spoonbills have a large spoon-shaped bill, compared to the flamingo’s small beak.

Roseate spoonbills can be found in coastal regions from the east coast to as far west as Texas. They are common in Florida and the breeding area “extends south from Florida through the Greater Antilles to Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay,” according to the Smithsonian National Zoo.

The American flamingo is more commonly found throughout the Caribbean and along the northern coast of South America.

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