MEET ZSA ZSA
Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja)
Photo: © 2004 Jeffrey Berger
Zsa Zsa is a beautiful and flamboyant bird, and the only spoonbill native to North America. The term “Roseate Spoonbill” refers to the rose-colored feathers and spatula-shaped beak. She is a tactile feeder who snatches aquatic insects and crustaceans from shallow water.
The spoonbill was almost exterminated in the last century. The demand for colorful plumes by the fashion industry had driven up the price of feathers to more than twice their weight in gold. Plume hunters armed with clubs and guns plundered the rookeries and slaughtered birds by the thousands. Today, spoonbills are threatened by the loss of feeding and nesting habitats due to unmanaged growth.