The Spoonbill family has a unique or uncommon way of feeding. They swing their beak back and forth in the water to find food. The inside of the “spoon” is very sensitive. When they feel a “goodie,” their beak snaps shut. They then swallow their food.
I have been trying to capture this action on video for some time, and finally, watched this African Spoonbill catch his food. This was taken at Zoo Tampa (Lowry Park Zoo) in their aviary.
“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 NKJV)
Just as the Spoonbills eat differently from other species of birds, it was the Creator that made them this way. You were created different than anyone else. Enjoy your uniqueness, because God made you the way your are. You were given different talents and abilities than someone else. What are you going to do with what the Lord has given?
African Spoonbill Zoo Tampa by Lee
The Spoonbills are using their uniqueness very well!
“and for a long time birds and hedgehogs, and ibises and ravens shall dwell in it: and the measuring line of desolation shall be cast over it, and satyrs shall dwell in it. (Isaiah 34:11 Brenton)”
The family Threskiornithidae includes 34 species of large wading birds. The family has been traditionally classified into two subfamilies, the ibises and the spoonbills; however recent genetic studies are casting doubt on the arrangement and revealing the spoonbills to be nested within the ibises.
Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) by Ian
Members of the family have long, broad wings with 11 primary feathers and about 20 secondaries. They are strong fliers and, rather surprisingly, given their size and weight, very capable soarers. The body tends to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. They are large birds, but mid-sized by the standards of their order, ranging from the dwarf olive ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), at 45 cm (18 in) and 450 g (0.99 lb), to the giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea), at 100 cm (39 in) and 4.2 kg (9.3 lb).
They are distributed almost worldwide, being found near almost any area of standing or slow-flowing fresh or brackish water. Ibises are also found in drier areas, including landfills.
All ibises are diurnal; spending the day feeding on a wide range of invertebrates and small vertebrates: ibises by probing in soft earth or mud, spoonbills by swinging the bill from side to side in shallow water. At night, they roost in trees near water. They are gregarious, feeding, roosting, and flying together, often in formation.
African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) by Lee at LPZoo
Threskiornis is a genus of ibises, wading birds of the family Threskiornithidae. They occur in the warmer parts of the Old World in southern Asia, nest in a tree or bush and lay two to four eggs. They occur in marshy wetlands and feed on various fish, frogs, crustaceans and insects. The species in this genus are the; African sacred ibis, T. aethiopicus, Malagasy sacred ibis, T. bernieri, Reunion ibis T. solitarius (extinct), Black-headed ibis, T. melanocephalus, Australian white ibis, T. moluccus, Solomons white ibis, T. m. pygmaeus, and theStraw-necked ibis, T. spinicollis.
The bird genus Pseudibis consists of two South-East Asian species in the ibis subfamily, Threskiornithinae. The giant ibis is also sometimes placed in this genus. Red-naped Ibis, Pseudibis papillosa andWhite-shouldered Ibis, Pseudibis davisoni. The white-shouldered ibis is critically endangered.
Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus) by Dan at Lowry Park Zoo
The small bird genus Geronticus belongs to the ibis subfamily (Threskiornithinae). Its name is derived from the Greek gérontos (γέρωντος, “old man”) in reference to the bald head of these dark-plumaged birds; in English, they are called bald ibises.
Geronticus contains two living species. The northern bald ibis (G. eremita) has a neck crest of elongated feathers. It is a Critically Endangered species found around the Mediterranean. Its range had expanded after the last glacial period to the Alps of Germany and even a bit further north, but it was rendered extinct there mainly due to habitat destruction and unsustainable hunting. The southern bald ibis (G. calvus) with a red crown patch but no crest is classified as Vulnerable and is found in subtropical southern Africa.
Nipponia– The crested ibis (Nipponia nippon), also known as the Japanese crested ibis or toki (トキ?), variously written in kanji as 朱鷺, 鴇, 鵇 or 鴾, and written in hanzi as 朱䴉 or 朱鷺, is a large (up to 78.5 cm (30.9 in) long), white-plumaged ibis of pine forests. Its head is partially bare, showing red skin, and it has a dense crest of white plumes on the nape. This species is the only member of the genus Nipponia.
Bostrychia is a genus of ibises in the family Threskiornithidae. Member species are found in many countries throughout Africa.
It contains the following five species:Wattled ibis (Bostrychia carunculata), Hadada ibis (Bostrychia hagedash), Olive ibis (Bostrychia olivacea), São Tomé ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), Spot-breasted ibis (Bostrychia rara)
Buff-necked Ibis (Theristicus caudatus) by Dario Sanches
Theristicus is a genus of birds in the family Threskiornithidae. They are found in open, grassy habitats in South America. All have a long, decurved dark bill, relatively short reddish legs that do not extend beyond the tail in flight (unlike e.g. Eudocimus and Plegadis), and at least the back is grey. They are the Plumbeous ibis, Theristicus caerulescens, Buff-necked ibis, Theristicus caudatus, Black-faced ibis, Theristicus melanopis, Andean ibis, Theristicus branickii,
Mesembrinibis– The green ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis), also known as the Cayenne ibis, is a wading bird in the ibis family Threskiornithidae. It is the only member of the genus Mesembrinibis.
This is a resident breeder from Honduras through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama, and South America to northern Argentina. It undertakes some local seasonal movements in the dry season.
Bare-faced Ibis (Phimosus infuscatus) by Robert Scanlon
Phimosus – The bare-faced ibis (Phimosus infuscatus), also known as the whispering ibis, is a species of bird in the family Threskiornithidae, in the monotypic genus Phimosus.
It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is swamps. The Bare-faced Ibis is either dark brown or a blackish color. It is called the Bare-faced Ibis because it does not have any feathers on its face. It has a long Decurved bill that’s pinkish to reddish brown. The skin on its face is usually a reddish color and it also has long orangely colored beak with pink legs. The total length of the ibis ranges between 45 and 50 cm.
Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) by Dan at LPZoo
Eudocimus is a genus of ibises, wading birds of the family Threskiornithidae. They occur in the warmer parts of the New World with representatives from the southern United States south through Central America, the West Indies, and South America.
There are just two species in this genus, American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) and Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) by Dan’s Pix
Plegadis is a bird genus in the family Threskiornithidae. The genus name derives from Ancient Greek plegados, “sickle”, referring to the distinctive shape of the bill. Member species are found on every continent except Antarctica as well as a number of islands. The glossy ibis is easily the most widespread of the three species. Plegadis contains the following three species: Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus, , White-faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi, Puna Ibis, Plegadis ridgwayi.
Lophotibis– The Madagascan ibis (Lophotibis cristata), also known as the Madagascar crested ibis, white-winged ibis or crested wood ibis, is a medium-sized (approximately 50 cm long), brown-plumaged ibis. It has bare red orbital skin, yellow bill, red legs, white wings and its head is partially bare with a dense crest of green or gloss blue and white plumes on the nape. The Madagascan Ibis is the only member of the genus Lophotibis.
Roseate Spoonbill at Flamingo Gardens by Lee
Platalea– Spoonbills are a group of large, long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae, which also includes the ibises. The genus name platalea derives from Latin and means “broad”, referring to the distinctive shape of the bill. Six species are recognised, all either placed in a single genus or three genera. They are most closely related to the Old World ibises; Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor, African Spoonbill Platalea alba, Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia, Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes, and our local Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja.
All spoonbills have large, flat, spatulate bills and feed by wading through shallow water, sweeping the partly opened bill from side to side. The moment any small aquatic creature touches the inside of the bill—an insect, crustacean, or tiny fish—it is snapped shut. Spoonbills generally prefer fresh water to salt but are found in both environments. They need to feed many hours each day.
“And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:21-23 KJV)
Dan and I have been out to the Circle B twice in the last few weeks. We were there on the 14th and again this last Saturday, the 24th. The birds are definitely getting back down here. What an increase in Wood Storks, several hundreds, and the Roseate Spoonbill started arriving this last week, according to one of the volunteers.
The visit on the 14th, which was briefly mentioned in Stork II, was the first time I tried out my new “Zip”. As has been mentioned before, I have a slight handicap and this is a great assist. Anyway, after unloading it, off we went for a nice 73°F birdwatching adventure on a clear day. Just outside there were about 20 Black and Turkey Vultures hanging out at the brook, which is part of the reserve. Overhead a Great Egret, Osprey and some Boat-tailed Grackles flew by. The Blue Jays, Mourning Doves, Red-Bellied, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, and the elusive, but calling Carolina Wren greeted us on the way to the marsh. Once we got there I was amazed at all the Wood Storks and the others birds that had arrived.
Carolina Wren - Finally
Here is what was spotted (or heard) then in order I spotted them: Turkey and Black Vultures, Blue Jay, Fish Crows, White Egrets, Carolina Wren, Mourning Doves, Red-bellied and Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Wood Storks – lots, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, Tufted Titmouse, Green Heron, Downy Woodpecker, Glossy and White Ibises, Tricolored Herons, Moorhens, Mallards, Ospreys, 2 Spoonbills, Double-crested Cormorants, Anhingas, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks-lots, Great Egret, Cardinals, Red-winged Blackbird, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Cattle Egrets, Belted Kingfisher (finally got sort of a picture of it), Northern Mockingbird, Grey Catbird, Blue-grey Gnatcatchers, Northern Harrier, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, and the Common and Boat-tailed Grackles. Not a bad 2 hours of birding. A total of 40 identified.
On Saturday, we birded for about an hour before we met a group of about 10-12 AWANA boys from our church. We had been asked to join them as they went birdwatching. We figured we would get pictures before they came, as youngster can be enthusiastic and might spook a few birds. Actually, they did right well and got to see lots of birds. I got to go with them further than normal because my “Zip” was with me.
What we saw were about the same birds as before with the following changes. I finally got a picture of that elusive Carolina Wren. I have heard it for months, but never got a look, let alone a photo. It’s not that good, but it’s a prize for me. Up in a tree we spotted what we thought was a Hawk, but when looking at pictures, realized it was the juvenile Bald Eagle. There were a lot more Roseate Spoonbills (20-30), Tufted Titmouse, Sandhill Cranes, Blue-winged Teals have arrived, Snowy Ibises, Pied-Billed Grebes, possible Mottled Ducks, Purple Gallinules, Bald Eagles (a juvenile and adults-3 in one tree), and more unknowns. So, in the two trips the total is 48, not counting the unknowns. I almost forgot the hugh alligator. Someone said about 14 feet long.
Does the eagle mount up at your command, And make its nest on high? From there it spies out the prey; Its eyes observe from afar. (Job 39:27,29 NKJV)