Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Creature Feature: Roseate Spoonbill.

Off the top of your head, name five creatures that are naturally pink. Albino morphs of red reptiles do not count. The elephant you see when you are drunk does not count either.

Not real. Unless you count albino elephants.

Now, if I told you that there was something pink with a spoon on its face, you would probably think that I was tripping on acid. Of all the fantastic pink animals that you probably imagined, that one is actually real:

Science does not call this bird "pink." They use the more Latinate "Roseate Spoonbill" (Ajaja ajaja - no, really, that is this thing's scientific name). Even science cannot get over how ridiculous-looking this thing is; they were able to avoid 'pink' in the name, but the 'spoon' in there makes taking out 'pink' an exercise in futility. There is just no way not to laugh at this bird.

Even the scientific name is funny.

The Roseate Spoonbill has a habitat and diet similar to that of the pink flamingo, but evolved a slightly different way of eating. Instead of using a flamingo's sieve-like beak, it dabbles in the marshes of Florida (as well as Mexico and Central and South America) like a duck.

Its flat bill snaps shut whenever something tasty, like a newt, fish or crustacean swims by. Baby spoonbills are, in turn, eaten  by eagles, vultures, fire ants, and anything else that thinks a bright pink bird with a spoon on its head is too ridiculous to exist.

But, hey...how often am I going to get to quote The Tick on this blog?


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