Eurasian Spoonbill

Eurasian Spoonbill

Eurasian Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia

Among the large waders, the Spoonbill is definitely one of the most curious because of its strange beak with its tip shaped like a spoon, which indeed gives the species its name.  

Actually it is a very useful tool for fishing which, once submerged, the bird moves from side to side to sift the water in search of possible prey.  Its diet includes  mollusks, other aquatic invertebrates and small fish.

Like the storks, it flies holding its neck stretched out forward and not bent in and “s” like the herons.

During the breeding season, the Spoonbill dons an elegant livery with a thick tuft of yellow feathers on its head and a golden patch on its breast.  

The immature have a bill with a pinky brown tip and black tipped wings.

The Spoonbill frequents the Fucecchio Marshes both during migration and summer; because of the last fact it is hoped that it may nest at Fucecchio in the future. 

The Spoonbill already nests in several Italian wetlands, such as the Po Delta; indeed many individual born and ringed there have been sighted more than once in the Fucecchio Marshes.

It builds its large nests out of branches and other plant material on low shrubs or directly on the ground, often in pluri-specific colonies with herons or cormorants.

In our country the Spoonbill is also a regular overwintering species: many individuals spend winter in Tuscany, especially in the Maremma district.