Photo: Cynthia Hansen / Audubon Photography Awards
I happened across the photo above quite unintentionally, but it quickly caught my eye because I had never seen young spoonbills before. I have encountered adult spoonbills on Caribbean islands on a few occasions. The attractiveness of that spatulate bill is highly questionable, but the pink, orange and white feathers do make a spectacular presentation, especially with wings open or in flight. But young Roseate Spoonbills have no distinctive colouring to mitigate the appearance of their bills. The youngsters are definitely not pretty, but they do get some sympathy for their platypus-like plight. Worldwide, there are six spoonbill species.
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