our animals

African Spoonbill

Platalea alba

There are six species that make up the spoonbill family. The name derives from the flat, spatula like bill, which the bird uses to feed. Sweeping its partly-opened bill from side to side, the spoonbill will snap its bill shut on small aquatic creatures. All spoonbills are long-legged wading birds.

It is diurnal, feeding on small fish and invertebrates and likely makes nomadic movements in response to local rainfall and habitat availability rather than seasonal migrations.
It nests colonially with other bird species., roosting in trees or reed beds, and rests along the shores of inland shallow waters, sometimes in large numbers of up to 1000.

Mainly monogamous, nesting in colonies of 5-20, occasionally up to 200 pairs. Other water birds will frequently join them. Nests are solely built by the female, with nesting material carried in by the male. The nest is a flat, oval structure made of sticks, reeds, and twigs; sometimes lined with grass and leaves. The nest is typically placed on a partially submerged tree or bushes and reeds along the waters edge. It lays 3-5 eggs and is incubated by both parents. Chicks are fed by both parents; by regurgitation.

fun facts

Conservation Status:

Least concern


Africa and Madagascar


Large, shallow, inland waters such as lakes, marshes, flood plains, and reservoirs


Small fish, aquatic invertebrates





Incubation period:

25-29 days

Life Span:

15-25 yrs