Lifestyle and Lifespan
There are six species that make up the spoonbill family. The name derives from the flat, spatula like bill, which the bird uses to feed. Sweeping its partly-opened bill from side to side, the spoonbill will snap its bill shut on small aquatic creatures. All spoonbills are long-legged wading birds.
The African spoonbill's long legs and thin, pointed toes help it walk easily through the varying depths of water and mud in search of prey.They are recognized by their long spatulate bills, bare red face and legs, and white plumage. The bill is bluish gray with a fringe of red along the edge of the bill.
African spoonbills have large, flat, spatulate bills and feed by wading through shallow water, sweeping the partially opened bill from side to side. Any touch by an aquatic animal will cause the bill to snap shut.Its long, bare legs are adapted to wade through its preferred habitat.
Large, shallow, inland waters such as lakes, marshes, flood plains, and reservoirs
Spoonbill diet consists of small fish and aquatic invertebrates
Adult African spoonbills are not commonly preyed upon. Chicks and eggs are vulnerable to nest predators such as crows, vultures, snakes, and mammals.Spoonbills help control populations of invertebrates and small fish.
It is diurnal, feeding on small fish and invertebrates and likely makes nomadic movements in response to local rainfall and habitat availability rather than seasonal migrations.
It nests colonially with other bird species., roosting in trees or reed beds, and rests along the shores of inland shallow waters, sometimes in large numbers of up to 1000.
This shy and alert bird is usually found in small groups. It is generally silent with an occasional grunt if alarmed.
Mainly monogamous, nesting in colonies of 5-20, occasionally up to 200 pairs. Other water birds will frequently join them. Nests are solely built by the female, with nesting material carried in by the male. The nest is a flat, oval structure made of sticks, reeds, and twigs; sometimes lined with grass and leaves. The nest is typically placed on a partially submerged tree or bushes and reeds along the waters edge.It lays 3-5 eggs and is incubated by both parents. Chicks are fed by both parents; by regurgitation.
Chicks start wandering around the nest from 21 days old and leave the nest at 5 weeks.
Some areas are threatened by the draining of wetlands
The inside of the spatula-shaped bill reacts to touch.
Chicks are born with a short bill, that gradually develops into its spoon-like shape by the time its 30 days old.
Swahili name: Domomwiko.
Follows animals that stir up water