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Eurasian Spoonbill

Eurasian Spoonbill
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5086 W: 166 N: 13016] (48470)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-06-19
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/2000 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-08-22 6:46
Viewed: 2045
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Eurasian Spoonbill or Common Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) is a wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family Threskiornithidae.

Recently I saw these birds in many places in the Netherlands. There are about thousand breeding pairs in our country. This photo is taken in De Groene Jonker, a wetland with a large lake, rustling reeds and wet grasslands.

This is a Palearctic species, breeding from the United Kingdom and Spain in the west through to Japan, and also in North Africa. In Europe, only The Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Hungary and Greece have sizeable populations. Most birds migrate to the tropics in winter, with European breeders mainly going to Africa, but a few remaining in mild winter areas of western Europe.

This species is almost unmistakable in most of its range. The breeding bird is all white except for its dark legs, black bill with a yellow tip, and a yellow breast patch like a pelican. It has a crest in the breeding season. Non-breeders lack the crest and breast patch, and immature birds have a pale bill and black tips to the primary flight feathers. Unlike herons, spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched. The Eurasian Spoonbill differs from the African Spoonbill with which in overlaps in winter, in that the latter species has a red face and legs, and no crest. They are mostly silent. Even at their breeding colonies the main sounds are bill snapping, occasional deep grunting and occasional trumpeting noises.

A study of mitochondrial DNA of the spoonbills found that the Eurasian Spoonbill is sister taxon to a clade containing the Royal and Black-faced Spoonbills.
The Eurasian Spoonbill has three subspecies:
• P. l. leucorodia, the nominate race, occupies all the range except as below.
• P. l. balsaci. Islands off the Banc d'Arguin, Mauritania.
• P. l. archeri. The coasts of the Red Sea and Somalia.
Birds in Asia are sometimes separated as P. l. major.

Eurasian Spoonbills show a preference for extensive shallow, wetlands with muddy, clay or fine sandy beds. They may inhabit any type of marsh, river, lake, flooded area and mangrove swamp, whether fresh, brackish or saline, but especially those with islands for nesting or dense emergent vegetation (e.g. reed beds) and scattered trees or scrubs (especially willow Salix spp., oak Quercus spp. or poplar Populus spp.). Eurasian Spoonbills may also frequent sheltered marine habitats during the winter such as deltas, estuaries, tidal creeks and coastal lagoons.

The diet consists of adult and larval aquatic insects, molluscs, crustaceans, worms, leeches, frogs, tadpoles and small fish up to 10–15 cm long. It may also take algae or small fragments of aquatic plants (although these are possibly ingested accidentally with animal matter).

More northerly breeding populations are fully migratory but may only migrate short distances while other, more southerly populations are resident and nomadic or partially migratory. In the Palearctic the species breeds in spring (e.g. from April) but in tropical parts of its range it times breeding to coincide with rainfall. Breeding is normally in single species colonies or in small single species groups amidst mixed-species colonies of other waterbirds such as herons, egrets and cormorants. Outside the breeding season Eurasian Spoonbills forage singly or in small flocks of up to 100 individuals. Migration is usually conducted in flocks of up to 100 individuals. Most activity takes place during the morning and evening (although in coastal areas it foraging is governed by tidal ryhthms), they often roost communally in roosts which are up to 15 km away from the feeding areas.

The nest is a platform of sticks and vegetation which is either constructed on the ground on islands in lakes and rivers or in dense stands of reeds, bushes, mangroves or deciduous trees up to 5 m above the ground1. Within colonies neighbouring nests are usually quite close together, no more than 1 or 2m apart. Breeding colonies are normally sited within 10–15 km of feeding areas, often much less (although the species may also feed up to 35–40 km away).

Threats to the Eurasian Spoonbill include habitat destruction by drainage and degradation by pollution. It is especially adversely affected by the disappearance of reed swamps. In Greece over-fishing and disturbance have caused the population to decline, and human exploitation of eggs and nestlings for food has threatened the species in the past. As stated above it has recently started to breed in the United Kingdom from where it was extirpated in the 17th Century.

Source: Wikipedia

samiran88, marius-secan, maaciejka, CeltickRanger, josediogo1958, anel, ramthakur, vanda, deons has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hello Peter,
very nice picture of this Eurasian Spoonbill, good patterned reflection made a depth of this picture. water droplet on the beak make this lively. good light management.
great picture,
best wishes,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5830 W: 89 N: 14938] (62666)
  • [2012-08-22 7:00]

Hi Peter,magnificent light management to take the plumage of this spoonbill whit the best white and details,i like the elegant position too and the beautiful reflections that looks like a lot of white underscores..ehehe..have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

hallo peter
Pracht opname zo in het donkere water
veel details en super mooi kleuren
Leuk oogcontact met de vogel

Er is dit jaar voor het eerst in het Hoofddorpse bos op een oude reigernest
jongen groot gebracht
Afwachten volgend jaar of er meer komen
groet lou

Hello Peter,
Gorgeous capture of a lovely species of birds. Excellent contrast and superb vivid colors. It is a lovely composition. The details and colors are great. Splendid clarity and magnificient light in the eye and bill.
Thanks for sharing!

Hi Peter,
interesting bird and very good presentation. Perfect point of view. Nice natural colours.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1328] (10691)
  • [2012-08-22 7:51]

Ha Peter,

Mooie plaat van deze lepelaar. Ik wist niet dat ze ook in de groene jonker voorkomen.


Hello Peter

Excellent photo of the Eurasian Spoonbill,
with fine POV, DOF and framimg, great focus,
sharpness and details, love the light coming
to the bird, TFS


  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2012-08-22 10:24]

Hi Peter,

This a lovely image taking advantage of the light falling on the bird, while the background is dark.The effect is striking. The details of the feathers are excellent.

Well done!


Ciao Peter. Intrigant reflecions indeed. Detail/sharp perfect MF. And what amazing colours!


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-08-22 11:02]

Hello Peter.
Great capture of the spoonbill. It was nice of him to pose like that for you. Wonderful colors and details. I love that bird.Best regards Siggi

Hello Peter,
Excellent photo with good compozition and nice colours.The sharpness is impressive!

Great photo Peter! Excellent composition, fantastic lighting and good sharpness!

Hi Peter,
nice composition of this Common Spoonbill, TFS & best regards, Ferran

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2012-08-22 22:33]

Hello Peter,
Splendid photo of this very interesting Bird, Common Spoonbill, great lights, many details also in the withe colours, thanks for sharing!

Hallo Peter,
Anders as die Afrika Lepelbek is die Eurasiese Lepelbek onbekend aan my en dus is dit 'n plesier om dit hier teë te kom. Soos altyd met jou foto's is die gehalte uitstaande en so ook die samestelling. Dit lyk of jy jou aftrede geniet met jou fotografie en sekerlik welverdiend so. Insiggewende meegaande nota. Veels geluk, weereens, met jou baie goeie bydrae.
Beste wense.

NS: Die 70-300 Nikkor is duidelik 'n baie goeie lens. Ek het onlangs 'n 28-300 Nikkor aangeskaf en tot dusver is ek heel gelukkig daarmee maar het nog nie baie foto's geneem nie.

Bom dia Peter
Wonderful spoonbill and great capture.Great POV,excellent composition,wonderful colours and light and great sharpness.Very beautiful.
Thank You
Have a nice day!
Best regards

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3043 W: 3 N: 8701] (40526)
  • [2012-08-23 2:41]

Hello Peter, my neighbour,
A luminous shot of the Eurasian Spoonbill. The picture looks like you would have taken it in the South. Well chosen decentred composition too. May be it would have been nice to have the whole reflection of the bird on the water-surface.
Kind regards

Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely _Common Spoonbill, fantastic reflections, excellent clarity, fine details, splendid light and colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hi Peter

Fantastic light management, sharpness and perfect POV to see the gap in its bill. with just enough ripples suggesting movement. Fantastic.

Hello Peter,
An excellent capture with beautiful coloration, sharpness & pose. Very nicely composed & presented with a great POV. Great work & TFS. Regards & best wishes!


I had to look at your detailed exif data to find out how you manage such sharp and crisp images with your equipment, Peter.
After having done that, I can only admire your skills in nature imagery because whenever I try to emulate settings such as 1/2000 shutter speed, I end up with croppers in my inept hands! :(
This Common Spoonbill standing in water looks just divine.


  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2012-08-24 8:53]

Hi Peter!
Great capture of this white bird, with fine details! Perfect exposure without OE.
Nice lightin and reflections. Very good contrast against the blue water as BG.
Well done: congratulations.
ciao! Vanda

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 131 W: 0 N: 468] (5321)
  • [2012-08-28 9:08]

Hola Peter, que belleza de especie y de foto, me gusta mucho la luz, el control de los blancos, la composición y el entorno...saludos.

excellent focus and details for this bird, I think vertical shot to include the whole reflection in picture is beautiful too, congratulations Peter for the capture,

ciao, tino

  • Great 
  • deons Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 0 N: 50] (535)
  • [2012-10-06 2:11]

Hello Peter
A very nice shot of the Spoonbil. I also like the detailed migration information and your note about pollution.
There is good detail in the feathers and I like the broken reflection and the contrasting colour of the water.
TFS Deon

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2800 W: 0 N: 6695] (25837)
  • [2013-01-26 4:08]

Hello Peter
what an exciting bird with exciting long spoon beak.
What a creation and the features are shown here. Color balance is splendid.
Excellent capture shared.


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