TEMPORARY CLOSURE: The zoo is closed until further notice following city and state recommendations to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Read More


African Spoonbill Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Platalea alba
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    This wetland bird can be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa

  • Status

    Common. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the African Spoonbill Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

  • Habitat

    The African spoonbill inhabits wetland areas such as marshes, swamps and riverbanks as well as plains and savannas.

  • Niche

    The African spoonbill feeds on fish, crustacean and insects that it locates in the water.

  • Life History

    The spoonbill's nest, generally located in trees above water, is built from sticks and reeds and lined with leaves. During breeding season, the female lays three-five spotted eggs, and the male and female both take turns incubating them. African spoonbill chicks typically hatch after a month of incubation and are ready to leave the nest after another month of care.

  • Special Adaptations

    • The African spoonbill's unique beak is used to locate prey in water with low visibility. To hunt, the bird opens its bill in the water and sweeps it back and forth, snapping at any fish, crustaceans or insects it comes into contact with.
    • The African spoonbill's long legs and thin, pointed toes enable it to walk easily through varying depths of water.


Sign Up for ZooMail Weekly

Get the latest on upcoming events, new arrivals and more!

All Content © Lincoln Park Zoo.

2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

Get Map/Directions Call 312-742-2000

your zoo is...