Platalea leucorodia Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden. Three subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Eurasian spoonbill, common spoonbill; French: Spatule blanche; German: Lцffler; Spanish: Espбtula Comъn.
27.5–37.5 in (70–95 cm); 3.3 lb (1,500) g. Overall white plumage with varying amounts of yellow (from small patch to ring) at the base of the neck. Crest of white feathers on the back of the head. Black bill tipped in yellow and black legs. Males somewhat larger than females.
Has the largest modern range of any species in its family. Found across the Eurasian mainland, from the Atlantic coast of the Netherlands east across the Caspian and Black Seas, over most of China, to Mongolia, southern Siberia, and the Korean Peninsula.
Marshes, lakes, ponds, rivers, lagoons, flooded areas, and mudflats.
Flies with the head and legs extended, using majestic, slow beats of its wings. Groups may fly in single file or in a loose V formation. Spoonbills rarely utter any cries. On the ground, it often rests standing on one leg. It will swim for short distances to reach suitable areas of shallow water.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Mainly insects, crustaceans, and fish. The spoonbill holds its straight, flattened bill slightly open while foraging, sweeping it through shallow water and picking up prey items disturbed by the motion. Experiments have determined that the bill’s shape lets it act as a hydrofoil, setting up water currents which affect objects up to four inches (10 cm) away from the bill itself.
The spoonbill breeds, like most birds of the ibis family, in colonies of varying size. Clutch size is about three to five eggs. The young hatch after 21 days and are cared for by both parents.
Not threatened. Some local pressures due to hunting and habitat destruction.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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