Sunday, 25 October 2015

Day 345 - Extremely Spectacular European Spoonbills

Six Sleeping Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia)
Hey everyone, well I did say I'd kept a few species back that I had seen that I thought were quite special for the last few days of my year of nature hunting and today is one of those! Twenty days to go!

I'm going back to my holiday in Norfolk over the summer for this one. Now something that I find quite annoying is when I have seen birds far better than in my photos. Kingfishers and Spotted Crakes are two species, as well as today's, that I have had really good views of before I got my camera. I saw today's species much closer at Cley Marshes about two years ago. The six in my photo today I saw at Titchwell Marsh in August. They were all sleeping as well so you can't see the feature that gives them their name - their spoony shaped bill - well if you hadn't guessed before I'm sure that you will know now that today I'm looking at Spoonbills!

So what did I find out in my research?
They were at the far side of the reserve
  • They are considered to be a passage bird and you are only likely to see them around the coast of South and East England
  • To find one the most likely habitats you should visit are lakes, marshes and mudflats.
  • In the UK the most breeding pairs recorded is four. In the winter there are a few more, somewhere around 20 individual birds may stay here for the winter.
  • When they do breed they form colonies like herons, maybe even nesting alongside herons, and build a large nest of sticks in a low tree or bush.
  • They lay around 3 or 4 eggs in a clutch.
  • Because their breeding numbers are quite low they have an amber status, they are also a bird of European concern
  • They are quite a big bird on average 85cm in length with a 122cm wingspan. 
  • An average weight isn't known as too few birds have been ringed. This is the same for finding an average age for them.
Spoonbill from the Crossley ID Guide Britain and Ireland
Spoonbills from the Crossley ID guide
This shows them much better than my photos!
  • Their scientific name Platalea leucorodia is made up from Latin and Greek. The first bit is from latin and means 'the spoon bill' and the seccond bit is Greek and means 'the heron'
  • To feed they stir up mud with their feet and then sweep their bills from side to side in the water.
  • This allows them to filter out invertebrates, small fish and amphibians which is their main diet.
  • European Spoonbills are one of six species of Spoonbill in the world.
If you want to find out more try these links:

RSPB - European Spoonbill

BTO - European Spoonbill

Encyclopaedia Britannica - Spoonbills

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. They're such beautiful birds! Amazing shots here Zach. - Tasha