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5

Eurasian Spoonbill

(Platalea leucorodia)
Alternate name(s): "(Common) Spoonbill"
German name(s): "Löffler"

Size: 80-90 cm; wing span 1.15-1.3 m
Weight: 1.13-1.95 kg

Similar
species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Eurasian Spoonbill at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "leucorodia"

ADULT

BREEDING

PAIR

Lateral portrait of two Eurasian Spoonbills in breeding plumage; note the nuchal plumes (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Montargil Dam, near Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2019]

Lateral view of a pair of Eurasian Spoonbill in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Alhos Vedros, Tejo estuary, Portugal, May 2020]

Lateral view of a pair of Eurasian Spoonbill in breeding plumage sifting through shallow water (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, March 2020]

Sex unknown

Near-frontal view of Eurasian Spoonbills in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of H. Dahlem-Senger)
[Between Spiekeroog and Neuharlingersiel, Ostfriesland, Germany, June 2021]

Lateral view of an Eurasian Spoonbill in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, May 2019]

Lateral to dorsal views of Eurasian Spoonbills in fresh breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, March 2018]

Small flock of Eurasian Spoonbills in breeding plumage with at least one juvenile; on the left, for comparison, a White Stork (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2015]

Near-frontal/ventral view of an Eurasian Spoonbill in breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Varzea Redonda, Alandroal, Portugal, June 2019]

Lateral view of Eurasian Spoonbills in breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2019]

Near-lateral/ventral view of Eurasian Spoonbills in breeding plumage in flight with a juvenile in the middle (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2019]

Lateral view of an Eurasian Spoonbill in breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Sorraia River, Santa Justa, Coruche, Santarem, Portugal, July 2020]

Lateral/ventral view of an Eurasian Spoonbill in breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2015]

Near-dorsal/ventral view of an Eurasian Spoonbill in breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Sorraia River, Santa Justa, Coruche, Santarem, Portugal, July 2020]

NON-BREEDING

PAIR

Frontal view of Eurasian Spoonbills in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Montargil Dam, Ponte de Sor, Evora, Portugal, October 2020]

Lateral view of Eurasian Spoonbills in non-breeding plumage with a juvenile in tow (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Zambujal, Palmela, Setubal, Portugal, March 2020]

Sex unknown

Near-dorsal view of an Eurasian Spoonbill in non-breeding plumage; the nuchal plumes are just starting to reappear
(photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Montijo, Tejo estuary, Portugal, January 2019]

Dorsal view of an Eurasian Spoonbill in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, July 2019]

(Part of a) large flock of Eurasian Spoonbills in non-breeding plumage resting in shallow water (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, November 2019]

Small flock of Eurasian Spoonbills in non-breeding plumage resting in shallow water (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Montargil Dam, near Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2019]

Small flock of Eurasian Spoonbills in non-breeding plumage resting in shallow water together with a family of Black Storks (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2015]

Flock of Eurasian Spoonbills roosting on a sandbank, together with other waders (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2015]

Lateral view of an Eurasian Spoonbill in non-breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2015]

Overwintering flock of Eurasian Spoonbills in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo Estuary, Portugal, December 2017]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral/ventral view of an immature(?) Eurasian Spoonbill; the wing tips are still black, but the bill is turning dark and the throat is starting to show breeding colours (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Sorraia River, Santa Justa, Coruche, Santarem, Portugal, July 2020]

Lateral/ventral view of immature(?) Eurasian Spoonbills - one is banded, the other is working on its preparations for landing; looks a bit like a hitch kick... (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Ria de Alvor, Algarve, Portugal, October 2019]

Dorsal view of a juvenile Eurasian Spoonbill (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, July 2019]

Lateral view of a juvenile Eurasian Spoonbill in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Lagoa de Melides, Grandola, Setubal, Portugal, October 2020]

Lateral/ventral view of a juvenile Eurasian Spoonbill in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, July 2013]

Near-lateral/ventral view of adult (black bills) with juvenile Eurasian Spoonbills (horn-coloured bills) in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2018]

Lateral/ventral view of an adult, 2nd from top, with three juvenile Eurasian Spoonbills in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2018]

Dorsal/ventral view of an adult, left, and a juvenile Eurasian Spoonbill in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, August 2020]

Additional information

We have also taken some photos of Eurasian Spoonbills, race "leucorodia", in Oman.

Breeding information

Breeding season: Apr - ? Eggs: 3 - 4 Incubation period: 24 - 25 days Fledging age: 45 - 50 days

Nest building: Female & male Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

Male Eurasian Spoonbills collect the nesting material, while females use it to actually build the nest.

Nest

Type: Basket Material: Sticks, twigs, lined with other plant material Height above ground: 0 - 5 m

Pair of Eurasian Spoonbills in breeding plumage on their nest (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2019]

Eurasian Spoonbills nesting in a colonial nesting tree together with other waders; adult in breeding plumage with nestling
(photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, March 2014]

Eurasian Spoonbill nest, far right, with a second nest by White Storks near it (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2020]

Eggs

Size: 72(?) x 48(?) mm Colour: Matt grey, with sparse grey/brown speckles Shape: Long tapered oval

Food, Diet

Eurasian Spoonbills feed on small animals caught in their bill while sifting through shallow water.

Lateral view of an Eurasian Spoonbill gobbling up its prey (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Sorraia River, near Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2019]

Eurasian Spoonbills feeding in shallow water (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Embalse de Los Canchales, near Montijo, Spain, August 2019]

Lateral view of a pair of Eurasian Spoonbills sifting through shallow water; the bird on the right still has the nuchal plumes of its (worn) breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, July 2018]

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