Bird Families

Spoonbill bird


The country: DPRK
A type: Small sheet
Topic: Spoonbill (Platalea minor)
Sheet format: 180x180
Stamps per sheet: 16
Paper: Coated
Printing method: Offset
Chromaticity: Multicolor
Perforation: 13¼
Michel part number: KP 5495-5498KB
Michel catalog price: 19.6 Euro
Year: 2009
Date of issue: 05.10.2009
Condition: MNH OG

Description and features

This feathered creature is a squad of storks, and in appearance it fully corresponds to its name. After all, this bird borrowed some features of the appearance from storks, and therefore is in many ways similar to him and other fellows from the specified order.

Spoonbill - a winged creature with beautiful long legs and neck, striking in its subtlety and grace. She also has impressive wings. Throwing them majestically, she becomes indescribable during flight.

Quite often the bird simply hovers, bending its neck in a characteristic way and stretching its legs, catching the ascending warm air currents with its wings.

But at the same time, spoonbills are endowed with their own unique features that make them not only irresistible, but unique, unlike storks and herons, with which they are related, as well as ibises, of which they are family members.

The main difference between spoonbills and congeners is a widened beak.

The long beak of these birds resembles sugar tongs in shape, being wide and flattened at the end.

On the head, these creatures have a white, sometimes with a yellowish tinge, a feather crest hanging on the back of the head - an adornment of only sexually mature, mature individuals. The legs of these creatures are black (in some species - red), equipped with swimming membranes.

Dense dense plumage spoonbill basically has a snow-white shade. This bird has a small head, a large and fairly strong body, a short tail, a black beak, in some cases it is orange at the end.

During the period of love games, an ocher stain appears on the chin of these birds. Such creatures reach a meter in length, and their weight can reach up to 2 kg.

These creatures make sounds infrequently, but if they do, then they resemble an alarming muffled grunt with periodic screams and squeaks, sometimes they look like chirping and rumbling.

Listen to the voice of Spoonbill

Such vocal tones are usually typical for adults, if they are carried away by troubles at the nests of their children. The chicks themselves also emit cries, signaling their parents about the desire to eat. The rest of the time, these birds prefer to be quiet and not make unnecessary noise.

The range of these representatives of the feathered fauna is extensive. Spoonbill is an inhabitant of subtropical regions and tropics. In such regions of the planet, exotic types of fauna are often found, to which the spoonbill should also be attributed - a winged creature that greatly adorns tropical nature. These creatures take root well in Africa and Asia.

However, these birds are also found in temperate climatic zones located in European territories. But from here, with the onset of cold weather, they strive to fly away for the winter to warmer regions: to the Mediterranean or Africa.

As for Russia, here these birds are found only in the southern regions: in the lower reaches of the Volga and Don, some other regions.

In Russia, only two varieties of such birds are known. In addition to the one already described, it lives on the territory of our country only small spoonbill, which, unfortunately, is threatened with extinction. These creatures can be distinguished from congeners by some characteristics.

First of all, their size usually does not exceed 76 cm. In addition, part of the feather cover of the head, as well as the legs and beak, are black in such birds. They are found in Karelia. From foreign countries - they are common in China, they winter in warm regions of Asia.

In addition to these, there are four more types of spoonbills on earth. They differ in appearance and habitat. Let us describe in more detail two, the most famous of them.

1. Spoonbread loaf - a very small bird in comparison with its relatives, the average size of which is about 60 cm, and the mass is a little more than half a kilo. Such creatures are especially distinguished by the color of beautiful, but mostly dark plumage.

Their body is brown. And some areas on the back, wings and forehead gleam with a purple and green tint.

Spoonbill of the Globe has bright plumage

2. Pink spoonbill among the varieties of such birds can be called the most unusual and exotic. At one time, the feathers of these winged creatures were worth more than gold. That is why the extermination of these representatives of the winged fauna has crossed all reasonable boundaries.

But the measures taken to protect these beautiful creatures helped to preserve such birds for the descendants.

They are residents of the American continent and are common in Argentina, Chile and Florida. These creatures have a rich red tint of feathers on the chest and wings, crimson legs, dark head and beak. Only some areas of the back are white.

In the photo there is a pink spoonbill

Two more of the existing varieties in the world were not mentioned. This is a thin-billed spoonbill - a representative of the feathered fauna that lives on the African continent. Another variety is black-billed spoonbill, which inhabits various regions of Asia, as well as Australia and the nearby archipelagos.

Lifestyle and habitat

Spoonbills prefer to settle in wet areas, not far from salty or fresh waters, choosing areas overgrown with trees and shrubs, and above all - areas abounding with reeds.

Most often, these birds can be found in wetlands, lakes, as well as rivers with a slow flow and a muddy bottom. As seen, Spoonbill bird prefers calm and muddy waters. And it is understandable why: in such places there is much more food for her.

Almost all the life of these creatures, except for sleep and worries about procreation, is spent in search of food. Getting food, such birds become practically tireless. In a day, they can move in shallow water, where they usually hunt, to a distance of more than 10 km.

Bad weather or heavy rain is not a hindrance for them. These stubborn creatures are especially diligent during the period of feeding the chicks. Indeed, at this time they have to take care not only of their own stomach, but also feed the insatiable offspring.

Uniting in flocks, spoonbills are able to move, migrating, over considerable distances through the air. Here we are already talking about seasonal roaming, and the account is made not for tens, but much more: for hundreds and thousands of kilometers. When flying, the birds line up in the air in wedges, the shape of which is similar to the letter V.

At a favorable time of the year (usually in spring), the breeding season begins for these representatives of the winged fauna. Setting up for raising offspring, sometimes these birds form entire colonies.

This happens when the density of individuals of such species in a given area is very high. At the same time, it happens that the nests of these creatures are located so close that they form whole islets-colonies, which almost climb one on top of the other.

But if there are few spoonbills in these areas, then usually their nests are scattered over the terrain at a considerable distance. Their facilities for raising offspring are simple and unpretentious, most often they are withered reed leaves or reed branches piled in a heap.


The diet of these birds of prey is very extensive. In fact, they literally eat what comes into their mouth. And the menu depends on the region where they live, the chosen hunting area, as well as the period of the year.

Such birds prefer to get their food not in daylight, but better at dusk, wielding somewhere in shallow water.

They catch small frogs, look for tadpoles, try to catch a fish that is not very large in size. Such birds also find worms, crustaceans, and are not averse to eating molluscs. But in some cases, with a lack of other food, they are content with just algae.

Spoonbills hunt in a peculiar way, dropping a half-open beak into the water. They lead them from one side to the other, moving this part of their body as if they were mowing ordinary grass in a meadow. Thus, they grope for prey.

Their beak, equipped with tubercles and roughness, is endowed with a huge number of rather sensitive nerve endings.

All of this works like an ingenious sensory device capable of detecting in the water what is not perceived by other senses, that is, objects that can be the desired prey. For a peculiar, very characteristic way of hunting, such birds were awarded the apt nickname among the people: mowers. The unusual beak of these creatures is clearly visible Spoonbills on the photo.

Reproduction and life expectancy

During the mating season, which usually lasts from April somewhere to June (in the southern regions it begins much earlier), the tuft of the partners invitingly bloom, attracting females. And the courtship of birds consists in mutual cleaning of each other's feathers.

Birds nest near water or even on water (in some cases, spoonbills are looking for floating rafts for raising offspring). They can also settle down in anticipation of future chicks in trees or shrubs, even just on the ground, while the sites are usually selected in a swamp and hide in the undergrowth of old grass.

In some cases, spoonbills are quite capable of occupying the nests of other birds, for example, pelicans. But the described representatives of the fauna of the selected sites try not to yield to anyone, with ferocity defending the interests of the future offspring and its intended habitat.

Spoonbill nest with chicks

Eggs are incubated, the number of which can reach up to five pieces, parterres in turn. Their color is usually white, and the general background is marked with brown spots. And after three, sometimes four weeks (most often, about 25 days pass from the moment of hatching), the long-awaited, covered with white down, cute chicks appear in the nest.

At first, they are fed with food digested by their parents. They get it in a peculiar way: by sticking their beak into the mouth of their mother or father.

After about a month, the cubs grow so much that they leave the nest, accustoming themselves to independence, and already strive not to use the services of caring parents. True, at first, just in case, they still try to stay closer to their home.

Spoonbill chick

During such periods of maturation, they form groups, whose members settle near certain feeding areas. From such gatherings of adolescent chicks, subsequently (about a month later) flocks of young animals are formed, which prefer to live separately from representatives of the more experienced generation.

Spoonbills live quite a lot in comparison with other birds. The maximum recorded age of these representatives of the feathered fauna is just over 28 years. But the indicated lifespan is possible only ideally, because the existence of such birds is full of tragic accidents and dangers.

As you can conclude from what has been written, these are truly unusual birds, and the only representatives of the ibis family that live on the territory of the European continent. The name of such birds has become so firmly established in our life that it often sounds in everyday life.

For example, it is called “Spoonbill» Shakhovskoy rehabilitation center. This institution, located in the Moscow region, helps people. And it is a pity if the unreasonable behavior of a person becomes the reason for the disappearance of these beautiful winged creatures from the face of the planet.

Spoonbill / Platalea minor

1986 FIFA World Cup, Mexico (III), Zip Block

1986 FIFA World Cup, Mexico (III), Series of Postage Stamps

1986 FIFA World Cup, Mexico (II), Zip Block

WWF: Small Spoonbill (Platalea minor), Postcard

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