English Name Eurasian Spoonbill
Scientific Name Platalea leucorodia
German Name Löffler
Spanish Name Espátula Común
French Name Spatule blanche
Eurasian Spoonbill
Peters Family Name THRESKIORNITHIDAE(Plataleinae):Spoonbills Order 410.0
Sibley Monroe Family Name THRESKIORNITHIDAE:Ibises,Spoonbills Order 3840.0
Gill Family Name THRESKIORNITHIDAE:Ibises,Spoonbills Order 559.0
New 2013 Family Name THRESKIORNITHIDAE,Threskiornithinae:Threskiornine Ibises and Spoonbills Order 415.0
English Synonyms
  • Common Spoonbill
  • European Spoonbill
  • Spoonbill
  • White Spoonbill
<Ibis nippon Temminck,1835,in Temminck & Laugier de Chartrouse,Nouveau recueil de planches coloriées d'oiseaux,livr.93,pl.551. (Japan)
Authority Linnaeus 1758
Habitat shallow water in freshwater,brackish & coastal habitats
Breeding "Spring breeder in N of range,laying mainly from Apr in Spain...season variable on Indian subcontinent...mostly Jul-Oct in N,Nov-Jan in S;...African breeders mainly before or during rains"
Migratory and dispersive. Such post-fledging dispersal as occurs (July-August) normally for relatively short distances; Volga delta birds up to 90 km north to north-east, Dutch birds reaching north-west Germany and (fewer) south-east England; but 3 exceptional early autumn recoveries of juveniles (Yugoslavia to Scotland, Hungary to Camargue, Netherlands to Azores) indicate some long-distance wandering. Main departures from European colonies August-September; few remaining October, though appreciable numbers still present Volga delta. Occasional Netherlands in mild winters, when a few fairly regularly south-west England and south Ireland. Most Dutch birds migrate along Atlantic coast, alighting at major estuaries; winter recoveries and sightings of colour-ringed birds Canary Islands (2), Banc d'Arguin (2), and Sénégal delta (1), while Smith 1965 noted migrant flocks on Atlantic coast Morocco in September and March; thus believed that Dutch birds winter among much larger Banc d'Arguin population. Latter dispersive, some moving south to Sénégal, and apparently in small numbers to Gambia ; but many overwinter Banc d'Arguin where 4000 late December 1972. 2 recoveries of Spanish birds: one December 45 km from colony, other Morocco September; 200 birds in marismas January 1972. Breeders of south-east Europe winter partly Mediterranean basin, partly northern tropics of Africa; ringed ones from Austria, Hungary, and Yugoslavia recovered October-March in Italy, Sicily, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Tunisia, Libya, and lower Egypt, with notable concentration Tunisia; also single recoveries Austria to Algerian Sahara 400 km ESE of Ouargla (October), Hungary to north Sudan (November) and Niamey in Niger (February); absence of recoveries Morocco or coastal Algeria suggest no contact with western colonies.
Since European populations not large, and partially wintering Mediterranean, numbers migrating to northern tropics must be relatively small; occurs Mali east to Sudan, but in Nigeria known only as vagrant to Lake Chad. Palearctic subspecies identified south to north-east Congo and 14°N in Sudan; records of vagrants to inland lakes Kenya and Uganda possibly northern birds, since P. l. archeri of Red Sea appears to be coastal . Some numbers winter Iraq (some north of limited breeding area) and Iran. Also found Kuwait in February. Birds ringed Manyas Gölü colony, west Turkey, moved south to south-east, with recoveries lower Egypt (February), Sudan (October), Israel (February, March), Iraq (Euphrates delta in January, March, and May), and Pakistan (November). USSR populations appear to migrate south-east, since one ringed Sea of Azov recovered Pakistan, and from Caspian colonies one found Iranian Baluchistan and 4 in north India; large flocks arrive Indian subcontinent in October.
Early arrivals back in Netherlands and Azerbaijan in second half February, but most return to European colonies late March and April. Later arrivals non-breeders which wander during summer; recoveries of Turkish bird Iraq in May, and one from Caspian in India July, suggest some immatures remain in winter quarters. Migration often diurnal, small parties or large flocks; usually in transverse line formation, or soaring and circling at considerable heights.
Thanks to BWP on CD-ROM