The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

African Spoonbill

Afrikaans name: Lepelaar

African Spoonbill at Durban Botanic Gardens

Photo © Steven Herbert

Platalea alba

As its name implies this bird is found widely across Africa, including South Africa.

The African Spoonbill favours marshy quiet stretches of water where it may be seen hunting for its prey.

The spoon-shaped bill is used to hunt prey. It sways it back and forth in the water until it senses something which it then catches. Its food includes frogs, fish, insects and crustaceans.

African Spoonbills make a nest out of sticks either in a tree or reedbed. It nests in colonies sometimes with other species. The female lays up to 5 eggs. Both parents tend to the eggs and young.

Male and females look the same. Immature African Spoonbills lack the red colouring on the face.

Juvenile African Spoonbill

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Juvenile African Spoonbills lack the red colouration on their bare skin and their bills are not fully developed.

References and further reading

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 82

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 82

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 28

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 39

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 53

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 57

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 75

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 76

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 68

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 58

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 108

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 132

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 32

Wading Birds of the World - Revised edition - Author: Eric and Richard Soothill - Published: 1989 - Page: 111

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 30

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 38

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 37

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 34

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 50

go! - Issue 162 - Author: - Published: 2019 - Page: 134

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 60

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 408

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 45

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 10

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 46

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 166

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 166

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 52

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 28

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 8

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 33

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 35

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 28

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