Although the American Flamingo is a more charismatic pink bird than the Roseate Spoonbill (and is rendered in plastic wherever lovers of tropical weather reside), they are usually found only in the Caribbean, South Florida, and the Florida Keys, while spoonbills are locally common along the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.
Thanks to Hurricane Idalia, flamingos now have been spotted in the Tampa area and beyond, well outside their usual locations. These birds likely were blown to Florida on the hurricane's strong winds, and might be new permanent Florida residents.
Spoonbills and flamingos get their fabulous coloring from carotenoids found in the brine shrimp and algae they eat. Each species has an unusually shaped bill which is perfectly adapted for its foraging behavior. Flamingos place their heads upside down and filter food from the water, while spoonbills use their wide flat bills to sift through muck.
Learn more interesting and shareable facts about flamingos from this Science of Birds podcast. We love these podcasts so much, we're sponsoring them!