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Royal Spoonbill - BirdForum Opus

Platalea regia
Photo by jimmclean
Sydney, Australia, February 2005

Identification

Large white bird with a black, spoon-shaped bill. When they are breeding, long white plumes grow from the back of their heads. Breeding adults also have a creamy-yellow wash across the lower neck and upper breast and a strip of bright pink skin along the edge of the underwings which is obvious when the bird opens its wings. The facial skin is black with a yellow patch above the eye and a red patch in the middle of the forehead, in front of the crest feathers.

Distribution

Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.

Taxonomy

This species is monotypic.[1]

Habitat

Intertidal flats and shallows of fresh and saltwater wetlands.

Behaviour

It feeds by sweeping its bill from side to side. Its diet includes fish and other water animals, such as shellfish, crabs and frogs.

The nest is an open platform of sticks in a tree in which the female lays 2-3 eggs. The chicks hatch after 21 days.

References

  1. Clements, JF. 2007. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019

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