Australian Bush Birds
Yellow-billed Spoonbill  -  Platalea flavipes
Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Yellow-billed Spoonbill on the edge of Noccundra Waterhole in south-western Queensland.
Yellow-billed Spoonbill Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Left. In the shallow of Coopers Creek near Windorah; this bird shows the plumes of a breeding bird.
Right. Feeding near the bank of Coopers Creek; the bill sweeps through the sand and mud feeling for food items.
map map The Yellow-billed Spoonbill - Platalea flavipes - is a large, off-white bird easily identified by the long, pale yellow, spoon-shaped bill. The face is pale grey bare skin with a narrow black edging in breeding birds; in non-breeding birds the bill is yellow without the edging. Eye is yellow. Breeding birds have spiny white plumes on the breast.

Inhabits fresh water swamps and waterways; feeds in shallows by day and night. Feeds on water insects, crustaceans, fish and molluscs. When feeding, spoonbills walk through the water stirring up sand, mud and organisms from the bottom while the bill sweeps from side-to-side through the water; if anything touches the inside of the spoon-shaped tip it is grasped and eaten.

Found over most of Australia, except for the most arid parts of South Australia and Western Australia. Nomadic and moderately common.

Yellow-billed Spoonbill - page 2
Breeds mainly in south and inland areas. Yellow-billed spoonbills return to the same breeding area from September to April year after year, provided water is present.

The nest is a large collection of sturdy sticks up to 20 metres above water or ground, usually in trees or bushes growing in water. Nests are single or in loose colonies, sometimes with other species.

Up to four eggs laid; matt white, tapering-oval, 68mm by 45mm. Both parents incubate the eggs. Young are fed by regurgitation from both parents and stay in the nest until they are four weeks old when they climb over nearby bushes and trees. At about seven weeks they can fly and follow adults to feeding places.