African Spoonbill


ORDER: Clconliformes

FAMILY: Threskiornithidae

GENUS: Platalea

SPECIES: alba

DESCRIPTION:
About 36" long (91 cm.) Recognized by its long spatulate bill, bare red face and legs, and all white plumage. The bill is bluish gray with a fringe of red along the edge of the broad end and some pink and red about the proximal end. Voice is a double "aark-aark," but it is normally silent.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Lakes, marshes, rivers, estuaries of Africa from Ethiopia to Kenya to South Africa as well as the lowlands of Madagascar.

DIET:
Insects, larva, shellfish.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
In spring, pairing takes place following courtship by both the male and the female. Both sexes share incubation and feeding the young. When the young are strong enough they follow the adults from the rookery to the feeding grounds and are then on their own.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Has a long spatulate bill, the inside of which reacts to touch, causing the bill to snap shut on its prey. Also has long bare legs for wading.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
Techniques used to obtain food from the water include slow sweeping, intensive search, dragging, probing, and grabbing.

OUR ANIMALS:

STATUS IN WILD:
Not endangered.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Schiller, Richard. July, 1983 "The Spoonbill", Zoonooz, Zoological Society of San Diego, Inc.
  2. Sibley & Monroe. 1990. Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, p.314.
  3. Williams, John. 1980. The Collins Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa. Stephen Greene Press, Lexington, Mass., p. 32.

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