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Preening

I was keen to see this endangered animal back at the end of 2020 - The black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor) - and the obvious place was MaiPo marshes and the fish ponds up near the Chinese border/boundary.

Quick question: What do you call a number of spoonbills collected together? The collective noun for spoonbills is bowl.

Here is one all alone at sunset, hence the still bluish water, and the lack of blow out/blinkies/ overexposure in their white feathers.

Anyway, this blog is supposed to be about preening...so here are some pictures below of them doing that. Why do they do this? A bird removes parasites, dust, and dirt from each feather through preening, leaving each feather in the best condition.... Otherwise, feathers would get brittle and break easily

Preening is also a social activity; birds will preen one another to remove feather sheaths that they cannot reach by themselves, so that is why they are reaching up under the neck of the other bird.


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. Click the images above for a larger view