Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia


Large, white, and rather graceful heron-like bird with long, broad, spatulate bill, long neck, and long legs. Sexes similar. Breeding adult all white, except for yellow-buff gorget at base of foreneck; conspicuous crest of long narrow feathers. Bill black with orange-yellow tip and legs black. Non-breeding adult lacks crest and yellowish foreneck. Juvenile similar to non-breeding adult but with black tips to the primaries. Bill pink, becoming darker during first-winter; legs pinkish-flesh changing to slate.

Identification difficulty

Usually coastal but highly specialised bill ties it to usually to shallow and extensive water.

When to see it

Can appear in any month but most likely from April to September/October.

Life History

Gregarious throughout year. In flocks on migration and during flights between roost or colony and feeding grounds. Feeding groups tend to be small and solitary feeding not uncommon. Has nested recently in the UK (see Rare Breeding Bird Report in British Birds).

UK Status

Scarce breeder and regular summer visitor, mainly to coastal sites.

VC55 Status

Rare vagrant but recorded in all months between April and November.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map