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60â€“78½ cm (23¾-30¾ in)
 Similar species
The Eurasian Spoonbill P. leucorodia is larger, has yellow tip to bill and narrower black lore stripe.
Formerly widespread in East Asia, this endangered species now has the most restricted range of any spoonbill. Platalea minor breeds on islets off the west coast of North Korea and South Korea, and Liaoning province in mainland China. Birds have been reported in the Tumen estuary of Russia, but breeding has not been proven.
The three major wintering sites are the Tsengwen estuary of Taiwan (China) (562 individuals), the Deep Bay area of Hong Kong (China) (179 individuals), and the Red River delta, Vietnam (65 individuals). It also winters in Cheju, South Korea, Kyushu and Okinawa, Japan, and Yancheng and Hainan, China, and there are recent records from Thailand, the Philippines and Macau (China).
Satellite tracking has shown that birds wintering in Hong Kong and Taiwan migrate along the coast of eastern China to northern Jiangsu, then over the Yellow Sea to the Korean peninsula.
A minimum of 1069 individuals were counted by the 2003 International Black-faced Spoonbill Census, 10% more than in 2002. At its low point, the world population was down to just over 200 birds, but it now appears stable at over 1600 adults.
It breeds in mixed colonies on small islands. Breeding success is low. It winters on tidal mudflats.
They nest on cliffs. The clutch consists of 3 eggs and the young fledge after 5 weeks.
The diet includes small fish, crabs and shrimp.
Usually silent, but gives guttural ubuu ubuu call during breeding season.
Migratory; arrives in Korea in March, and sometimes departs as late as November.
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