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African Spoonbill

Afrikaans name: Lepelaar

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Front shot of an African Spoonbill clearly showing the spoon-shaped bill

Photo © Steven Herbert

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African Spoonbill at Durban Botanic Gardens

Photo © Steven Herbert

Platalea alba

As its name implies this bird is found widely across Africa, including South Africa.

The African Spoonbill favours marshy quiet stretches of water where it may be seen hunting for its prey.

The spoon-shaped bill is used to hunt prey. It sways it back and forth in the water until it senses something which it then catches. Its food includes frogs, fish, insects and crustaceans.

African Spoonbills make a nest out of sticks either in a tree or reedbed. It nests in colonies sometimes with other species. The female lays up to 5 eggs. Both parents tend to the eggs and young.

Male and females look the same. Immature African Spoonbills lack the red colouring on the face.

Juvenile African Spoonbill

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Juvenile African Spoonbills lack the red colouration on their bare skin and their bills are not fully developed.

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