Photographer's Note

African spoonbill / Platalea alba "fishing" before sunset in Chobe National Park, in Botswana...

Chobe National Park, in northwest Botswana, has one of the largest concentrations of “game” (wildlife sightseeing, that is) in Africa. By size, it is the third largest park of the country, after the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Gemsbok National Park, and is the most diverse. It is also the country's first national park.

The African Spoonbill is a long-legged wading bird. Its height is 90 cm. Its body is predominantly white, except for its red legs, face, and bill. Its wing is 37-40 cm long. This bird can be easily identified by its uniquely spoon-shaped bill. At birth, the African Spoonbill's bill does not resemble a spoon. It is born with a short beak, that gradually develops into its spoon-like shape. It usually resembles a spoon right before it is time to leave its nest. Both the male and female birds are similar in appearance.

The African Spoonbill is commonly found in several of countries in the southern part of Africa. Some of these countries include Botswana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The African Spoonbill usually resides by shallow inland waters. This bird's habitat includes river banks, lake shores, marshes, plains, savannas, swamps, and water-meadows.

The African Spoonbill is usually a shy and alert bird. It is usually found singly, but can also be encountered in pairs or in groups. It is usually silent, except for an occasional grunt when alarmed. This bird travels by flight. It flies with its neck and legs extended, while flapping its wings steadily in the air. The African Spoonbill feeds by fishing in shallow water. It fishes for its food by swinging its open bill from side to side in the water. Its bill acts as a scythe (hooked tool) to catch its food.

The African Spoonbill's diet consists mainly of fish and aquatic invertebrates such as crustaceans or shellfishes, insects, larvae, and mollusks.

Source: Chobe , African Spoonbill

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 266 W: 105 N: 604] (3931)
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