Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
(1/800th sec at f13. Click image for larger version)
© David Hastings
DescriptionL: 80 - 93 cm; WS: 120 - 135 cm
Unmistakable at close range, with a long bill with a spatula-shaped tip. Breeding birds have a distinctive crest. At a distance it can be confused with one of the white egrets.
It is found mainly around the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas, and along the Danube. It winters in north Africa and southern Europe.
It breeds in colonies in large reed swamps with some bushes and trees.
It forages by lowering its bill into the water, and sweeping its head from side to wide while wading forwards.
Regarded as of conservation concern in Europe owing to loss of habitat, and Amber status in the UK owing to the very small number of breeding birds.