EURASIAN SPOONBILL

Platalea leucorodia
English: Eurasian Spoonbill.
German: Löffler.
French: Spatule blanche.
Order: Ciconiiformes.
Family: Threskiornithidae.
80-93 cm.
120-135 cm.
The Eurasian Spoonbill is an unmistakable species with another Iberian-European species due to its striking bill.
Generally, it is not possible to differentiate between male and female through their plumage.

During the breeding season, the male has a longer crest and a proportionally longer bill.
It is possible to recognize 4 different ages:

1st year specimen: in these individuals, most of the outer primaries are covered with a dark brown color (rachis, calamus, outer vane and part of the inner vane). On the secondaries, there is a spot or stain of this same color at the tip. This dark brown spot is also present at the tip of the primary coverts, alula, primary infra-coverts, secondary infra-coverts, and axillary feathers.
On the other hand: the legs are pinkish-grey and the bill somewhat pink, which does not reach its definitive size until the end of the first year.

2nd year specimen: The dark brown spots remain on the primaries. The secondaries lose the tip stain, but some remnants remain, only the shaft and the shaft retain the brown color. Some individuals retain some secondaries from the previous generation with the dark brown tip. Primary infra-coverts from the previous generation with a very worn brown. White secondary infra-coverts completely, lose the brown color of the shaft.
White axillary feathers. The bill of 2nd-year individuals has not acquired the black color. The widened part of the bill begins to show a pale yellow tone with diffuse outlines.

3rd year specimen: The brown stain on the primaries decreases noticeably, with residual remains visible. Secondaries and tertials with brown shaft. The rest of the plumage already has an adult appearance.

Adult specimen: these individuals have a completely white plumage, without any remnants of the previous plumage with brown spots. In the breeding season, they have a crest with ochre tones, as well as in the throat and the feathers in the high area of the belly.

In adulthood, they have a black bill ending in a characteristic yellow stain in each individual. The iris is red and the legs are black. The vast majority of individuals begin to be sexually mature from the 4th year, although on occasions they can begin to reproduce at three years of age.
Adult Eurasian Spoonbill undergo a post-nuptial molt in the month of August. Juvenile individuals undergo a post-juvenile molt in the month of December.
Primaries: 10 per wing.
Secundaries: 17-18 per wing.
Rectrices: 12.

Medidas/Measures

Adult specimen:
Beak tip to pupil center:
Tarsus:

2nd year specimen

 

1.- Left wing primaries. 2.- Primaries. 3.- Details of the tip of the primaries. 4.- Details of the tip of the primaries. 5.- Details of the primaries. 6.- Details of P9. 7.- Details of P10. 8.- Details of the shaft of the outer primaries. 9.- Details of P9. 10.- Left wing secondaries and tertials (S1-S8). 11.- Left wing secondaries (S9-S17). 12.- Secondaries and tertials. 13.- Details of the secondaries. 14.- Details of the shaft of the secondaries. 15.- Details of the tip of S2. 16.- Details of the lower area of the shaft of the secondaries. 17.- Details of the central area of the shaft of the secondaries. 18.- Details of the lower area of the shaft of the secondaries. 19.- Primaries, secondaries and tertials. 20.- Primaries, secondaries and tertials. 21.- Primaries, secondaries, tertials. Primary coverts and secondary coverts. 22.- Primaries, secondaries, tertials. Primary coverts and secondary coverts (G, M, and L). Alulas. 23.- Details of the secondary coverts. 24.- Details of the primary coverts. 25.- Primary coverts. 26.- Secondary coverts. 27.- Alulas. 28.- Rectrices. 29.- Rectrices. 30.- Secondary infra-coverts. 31.- Primary infra-coverts.

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