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The weird and wonderful Black-Faced Spoonbill.


I was keen to see this endangered animal - The black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor) - and as it has the most restricted distribution of all spoonbills, the obvious place was MaiPo marshes.

Mid May is already very late to find these lovely birds on the mud flats, but we were lucky, with both an intial group of 6, and then a few solitary ones feeding near a different hide. The bird is a protected species in China as part of the China Red Data Book; and in In Hong Kong it is a protected species under Wild Animals Protection Ordinance Cap 200. In Mai Po Marshes, a quarter of the world's population of black-faced spoonbill can be found during migration. This one below walked towards our hide, and then made some interesting "nesting" type behaviour, pulling large twigs around.

Spoonbills are large water birds, with flattened, spatulate bills that look like a spoon, or a “pi pa” (Chinese musical instrument). Despite its large size it only weighs about 1kg. These birds use a tactile method of feeding, wading in the water and sweeping their beaks from side-to-side to detect prey. Click the images below for a larger view

#spoonbill

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