Famous for its tropical climate and coastal beaches, Florida is home to a wide variety of bird species. Although the American (Pink) Flamingo represents the most recognizable of all pink birds in Florida, the Sunshine State is home to a few other pink species that we will look at in this article.
7 Pink Birds in Florida
The seven pink or partially pink birds you can find in Florida include the American flamingo, roseate spoonbill, scarlet ibis, purple finch, house finch, rose-breasted grosbeak, and broad-tailed hummingbird.
1. American Flamingo
Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus ruber
The best time to see American flamingos in the Florida Keys or South Florida is between March and May when they congregate in shallow waters to breed and eat algae, shrimp, mollusks, and other invertebrates. Reaching around five feet tall and weighing seven to eight pounds, the American flamingo not only has distinctive features but a loud, honking call that sounds similar to geese.
Highly sociable birds that form groups of several hundred, American flamingos do not migrate but may fly short distances when food sources are scarce. The brine shrimp and microscopic algae they eat contain carotenoid pigments that give American flamingos their beautiful pink color.
These iconic pink birds are the only species of flamingo native to North America, and sometimes pop up in other states along the Gulf. Otherwise they can be found in the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America.
2. Roseate Spoonbill
Scientific Name: Platalea ajaja
Upon first glance, you might mistake the roseate spoonbill for an American flamingo due to its pink plumage, long legs and long neck. However, roseate spoonbills are shorter than American flamingos, are white from the neck up, and have a very unique bill. Their bill is long with a round paddle or spoon shaped tip. They use these spoon-shaped bills to scoop aquatic invertebrates out of the water.
Juvenile have light pink bodies with a white neck and head. Adults develop a dark pink band on their wings and rumps, some yellow on the shoulder and a pale yellow-green head.
You can see roseate spoonbills all year round in southern Florida, the Everglades, and the Florida Keys. Due to being hunted to near extinction for their feathers, the roseate spoonbill is now a protected species in Florida.
In 2003, Audubon of Florida began banding roseate spoonbills to help determine their population numbers. Since then, Audubon of Florida has received nearly 1600 reports of “re-sightings” of banded roseate spoonbills throughout central and southern Florida.
3. Scarlet Ibis
Scientific Name: Eudocimus ruber
Strictly carnivorous with a penchant for frogs, mollusks, and fish, the scarlet ibis displays vividly pink to reddish-pink plumage, black wingtips and a long, down-curved bill. Native to South America and the Caribbean, the scarlet ibis is considered an “accidental” bird in the U.S.
Decades ago, scarlet ibises were imported to the United States and bred with white ibises, which are native to North America. The scarlet ibises sometimes seen in the swamps and marshes of southern Florida are actually the descendants of this breeding experiment.
Additionally, escapees from wildlife sanctuaries, zoos, and private collections have led to the establishment of small colonies in the subtropical environment near Miami and Tampa.
Most of the time, the scarlet ibis is wading in shallow waters searching for food. However, they do take flight occasionally, forming groups large enough to create the “V” pattern associated with migratory birds.
4. Purple Finch
Scientific Name: Haemorhous purpureus
While the majority of pink birds in Florida live in the Florida Keys and southern Florida, the purple finch prefers northwest Florida, where it’s not so hot and humid. They aren’t super common in the state, but do visit during the winter months.
Males have all the color in this species. Their base is brown and white, but their head, chest, belly and back are washed in a bright raspberry color. Females, on the other hand, are just brown with heavy streaking. The purple finch’s diet consists of insects, berries, and seeds found in bushes, trees, and thicker ground vegetation.
5. House Finch
Scientific Name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Similar to the purple finch, the male house finch sports some red to pink coloration. They tend to be a bit less heavily colored than the purple finch, with more of their body being brown. Females are brown and cream with streaky chests.
Both male and female House Finches have slightly notched tails and cone-shaped bills. Once limited to only the western United States, the house finch is now a regular inhabitant of the eastern side of the nation as well. Populations live throughout human settlements, nesting along the edges of forests and visiting bird feeders often and in large numbers. They remain in Florida year-round, but are most common in the panhandle.
6. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Scientific Name: Pheucticus ludovicianus
This stocky finch returns to the U.S. every year to breed, but much further north than Florida. However, you can spot them as they migrate through the state in the spring and fall. They will happily stop to visit backyard bird feeders to fuel up, especially if you offer black sunflower seeds.
What makes the rose-breasted grosbeak one of the few partially pink birds in Florida is that males have a colorful, triangular patch of pink to pinkish-red feathers in the middle of their breasts. This pop of color really stands out on their otherwise black and white feathers.
Females do not have this pink patch. Instead they have brown backs and tawny underparts with brown streaks.
7. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Scientific Name: Selasphorus platycercus
It is unlikely to find the three-inch-long broad-tailed hummingbird in Florida, but if you do see them it will most likely be in the northwest, west of Tallahassee, and during the winter or early spring. Their normal range is the mountainous western portion of the United States during the breeding season, and in the winter they migrate to southern Mexico.
Male broad-tailed hummingbirds have emerald green plumage on their upperparts, white chests, and a purple-pink throat patch. Like most other hummingbird species, females lack the throat patch and are dull in color. Males also have a distinct, metallic trill that’s often heard before the bird itself is even spotted.