Eurasian Spoonbill


Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

The Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) is a spoonbill from the family of ibises and spoonbills (Threskiornithidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
English name:
Eurasian Spoonbill
German name:
French name:
Spatule blanche
Scientific name:
Platalea leucorodia

Scientific classification




Male and female:
The spoonbill has a white plumage, which shows a delicate yellowish touch, except for a yellow pleura, the head is orange-brown tinted. At the back of his head he wears a head of long feathers, which he spreads in the excitement to a fan coronet. The legs are black, the beak is bright in the cub, while the old animals have a black beak with a yellowish tip. In flight, the neck is stretched.

There is apparently no difference between males and females. But males are larger than females, have a longer beak than females and their heads are shaped differently. The forehead of the male flows into the beak in a straight line. The female has a more egg-shaped forehead.

There are possibilities of confusion with the African spoonbill (Platalea alba), which, unlike the Eurasian spoonbill, has red legs and a red facial skin.

When they just hatch from the egg, the chicks have an orange beak and orange legs. The color changes to gray within a few weeks.


The Eurasian Spoonbill forages by walking slowly in shallow water with semi-open bill partially submerged. The preys are detected by touch.

The spoonbill moves head and bill from side to side into water, while the bill is rapidly and alternatively opened and closed. That allows catching of several small preys.

They are mostly silent. Even at their breeding colonies the main sounds are bill snapping, occasional deep grunting and occasional trumpeting noises.


Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Eurasian Spoonbill measures approximately 80-93 centimeters. The female measures approximately 73-82 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 1680-1960 gram. The female will weight about 1130-1880 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

There are three subspecies:

  • Platalea leucorodia leucorodia - (here described) Found in S Spain, Holland and SE Europe, to C and E Asia, S to Persian Gulf, India and Sri Lanka. It winters in W and E Africa and SE China.
  • Platalea leucorodia balsaci - Smaller than nominate and has black bill. It often lacks the yellow neck base. It is found on islands off Mauritania coasts.
  • Platalea leucorodia archeri - Is smaller than nominate too. It occurs on the coasts of Red Sea and Somalia.

Breeding is normally in single species colonies or in small single species groups amidst mixed-species colonies of other waterbirds such as herons, egrets and cormorants. Outside the breeding season Eurasian spoonbills forage singly or in small flocks of up to 100 individuals. The nest is a platform of sticks and vegetation which is either constructed on the ground on islands in lakes and rivers or in dense stands of reeds, bushes, mangroves or deciduous trees up to 5 m (16 ft) above the ground.

The female Eurasian Spoonbill usually lays from 3-4 white patterned eggs and incubates them for 24-25 days.

Bird banding:
Recommended closed leg band ring size for the Eurasian Spoonbill is 18 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young spoonbill at around 12-14 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it's good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Maintenance food:
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special

Floating special complete food for sea birds with the highest nutritional requirements thanks to a particularly high protein content of 45%.

Ideal for daily feeding in animals that eat a lot of protein in their natural habitat. A must for "fish eaters".

CITES bijlage A

Deze soorten dienen altijd vergezeld te gaan van een CITES-document. Hierop staat o.a. de geboortedatum, de soortnaam, het geslacht en andere informatie zoals het ringnummer en de diameter van de ring die relevant zijn om het dier te identificeren. Dit internationale paspoort moet altijd bij het dier blijven, waar het ook heengaat.Houders van CITES A soorten dienen een register(boekhouding) bij te houden waarin men o.a. noteert het nummer van het CITES-document, soortnaam, de datum van aankoop en eventuele latere verkoop, verkregen jonge dieren en de datum van overlijden. Een voorbeeld van dit register is te downloaden via het verkrijgen van nakweek uit CITES A vogels dienen deze geringd te worden met een erkende, geregistreerde ring met een vaststaande diameter. Zolang de nakweek vogels in uw bezit blijven, op het adres dat gelijk is aan dat waar de oudervogels zich bevinden, is een CITES-document voor hen nog niet noodzakelijk.Zodra u de nakweek wilt overdoen aan een andere eigenaar dient u voor de vogels een CITES document aan te vragen. Dit gaat op basis van de CITES documenten van de beide oudervogels. Als de CITES-documenten in uw bezit zijn mag de nakweek uw adres verlaten, NIET eerder! In uw registratie noteert u dan waar de betrokken dieren heengaan.

Photos of the Eurasian Spoonbill

Videos of the Eurasian Spoonbill