Species profile

Name: spoonbills are a genus of large, long-legged wading birds. There are six species including the Eurasian, black-faced, African, royal, yellow-billed, and roseate spoonbill.

Appearance: spoonbills are easily recognised by the unusual shape of their bills, which are long, flat, and rounded at the end. They typically have white feathers except for the roseaste spoonbill which is a distinctive pink colour.

Size: they measure around 85 cm long with a wingspan of around 130 cm and a weight of around 1.8 kg.

Diet: their diet consists of aquatic insects, molluscs, newts, crustaceans, worms, leeches, frogs, tadpoles, and small fish.

Did you know: their unusual bills help spoonbills to find food underwater. They feed by wading through shallow water and sweeping their partly opened bills from side to side. The second any small creature touches the inside of the bill it is snapped shut. Their nostrils are located near the base of the bill so that they can breathe while their bills are submerged in water. Roseate spoonbills gain their distinctive pink colour from the brightly coloured pigments in the crustaceans that they feed on.

Location: spoonbills can be found on every continent except for Antarctica. They are usually found in shallow wetlands, rivers, or lakes where they spend most of their time feeding. While they prefer freshwater to saltwater they can also be found in deltas, estuaries, and mangroves.

Where to see Spoonbills

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see spoonbills in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Rye Harbour
very good
Nairobi National Park
very good

Photo credit: IanZA under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay

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