Arkansas, Roseate Spoonbill, Platalea


The Roseatte Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) is a rare bird in Arkansas and was not reported from the state until 1959, when it was seen in southwestern Arkansas. By use of online sources for citizen science, we elucidate the history of occurrence and present analysis of seasonal distribution of this bird in Arkansas. Individuals arrive in Arkansas as early as April, observations peak in August, and the birds may remain to late October when colder weather promotes southward migration. Most observations are of a few birds, but a maximum of 128 has been counted at one location and time. Most of the birds seen had not developed breeding plumage so were believed to be younger birds migrating northward in spring and summer to forage. The birds have been observed in 28 counties, but most observations have been in Chicot and Desha Cos. of southeastern Arkansas, bordering the Mississippi River. Several other wading birds such as storks, herons, egrets, and ibis have been reported as associates in flight or foraging. Nesting was discovered for the first time in 2020, in Ashley Co. of southeastern Arkansas.