African spoonbill in exhibit

African Spoonbill

Scientific Name

Platalea alba

Class

Aves

Order

Ciconiiformes

Range

Sub-saharan Africa

Habitat

Marshes, swamps, riverbanks, plains, and savannas

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
African spoonbill in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

African spoonbills have striking white plumage, a featherless red face, and long red legs. Their elongated, thin beak ends in a flat, extended bulge resembling a spoon, which helps with capturing fish, crustaceans, and insects. They build nests made from sticks and leaves in trees above water. During breeding season, females lay three to five spotted eggs.

Interesting Fact 1

African spoonbills catch food by opening their bill in the water, sweeping it back and forth, and snapping at prey.

Interesting Fact 2

Their long legs and thin, pointed toes allow them to walk easily through varying depths of water.

Interesting Fact 3

These wading birds can have a nearly three-foot wingspan.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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