spoonbill

spoonbill
/spoohn"bil'/, n.
1. any of several wading birds of the family Plataleidae, related to the ibises, having a long, flat bill with a spoonlike tip.
2. any of various birds having a similar bill, as the shoveler duck.
3. the paddlefish.
[1670-80; SPOON + BILL2]

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Any of six species (family Threskiornithidae) of long-necked, long-legged wading birds, inhabitants of Old and New World estuaries, saltwater bayous, and lakes.

They are 24–32 in. (60–80 cm) long and have a short tail and a long, straight bill that is spatulate at the tip. Most species are white, sometimes rose-tinged; the roseate spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja) of North and South America is deep pink and strikingly beautiful. With a side-to-side motion of the bill, they sweep mud and shallow water for fishes and crustaceans. They fly with neck and legs extended and wings flapping steadily. Breeding colonies build stick nests in low bushes and trees. Some species, including the black-billed spoonbill, are endangered. See also ibis.

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also called  Spoonbill Cat,  

      primitive North American fish, a species of paddlefish (q.v.).

bird
 any member of six species of long-legged wading birds that constitute the subfamily Plataleinae of the family Threskiornithidae (order Ciconiiformes), which also includes the ibises. Spoonbills are found in estuaries, saltwater bayous, and lakes. They feed by sweeping the long bill from side to side in the mud or shallow water and thereby catching mostly small fishes and crustaceans. When flying, spoonbills extend the neck and legs and flap the wings steadily. They breed in colonies, frequently with ibises and herons, building a large nest of sticks in a low bush or tree and laying three to five white eggs, blotched with reddish brown.

 Spoonbills range in length from about 60 to 80 cm (24 to 32 inches). The head is partly or entirely bare. In most species the plumage is white, sometimes with a rosy tinge, but the roseate spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja; see photograph—>), of North and South America, about 80 cm long, is deep pink with a white neck and upper back. It ranges from the Gulf Coast of Texas and the West Indies to Argentina and Chile. In some places it has been exterminated by plume hunters.

      The European spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) is a crested white bird about 60 cm long with cinnamon buff on the foreneck. It breeds in marshes of central and southern Europe and Asia, south to Egypt, India, and Taiwan. Others are the African spoonbill (P. alba); the lesser spoonbill (P. minor) of eastern Asia; and two Australian species, the royal, or black-billed, spoonbill (P. regia), and the yellow-billed, or yellow-legged, spoonbill (P. flavipes).

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spoonbill — Spoon bill ( b[i^]l ), n. (Zo[ o]l.) (a) Any one of several species of wading birds of the genera {Ajaja} and {Platalea}, and allied genera, in which the long bill is broadly expanded and flattened at the tip. [1913 Webster] Note: The roseate… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spoonbill — [spo͞on′bil΄] n. 1. any of several wading birds (family Threskiornithidae) with a broad, flat bill that is spoon shaped at the tip; esp., the roseate spoonbill ( Ajaia ajaja) of North and South America 2. any of a number of other birds with a… …   English World dictionary

  • spoonbill — 1670s, from SPOON (Cf. spoon) (n.) + BILL (Cf. bill) (2); after Du. lepelaar (from lepel spoon ) …   Etymology dictionary

  • spoonbill — ► NOUN ▪ a tall wading bird having a long bill with a very broad flat tip …   English terms dictionary

  • Spoonbill — Taxobox name = Spoonbills image width = 200px image caption = Royal spoonbill image width = 250px regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Ciconiiformes familia = Threskiornithidae subfamilia = Plateinae subdivision ranks =… …   Wikipedia

  • spoonbill — Shoveler Shov el*er, n. [Also shoveller.] 1. One who, or that which, shovels. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zo[ o]l.) A river duck ({Spatula clypeata}), native of Europe and America. It has a large bill, broadest towards the tip. The male is handsomely… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spoonbill — Ruddy Rud dy, a. [Compar. {Ruddier}; superl. {Ruddiest}.] [AS. rudig. See {Rud}, n.] 1. Of a red color; red, or reddish; as, a ruddy sky; a ruddy flame. Milton. [1913 Webster] They were more ruddy in body than rubies. Lam. iv. 7. [1913 Webster] 2 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spoonbill — /ˈspunbɪl / (say spoohnbil) noun 1. any of several wading birds closely related to the ibis and having a long, flat bill with a spoon like tip, as the royal spoonbill, Platalea regia, of Australasia and certain islands to the north. 2. any of… …  

  • spoonbill — girnovės statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Platalea angl. spoonbill vok. Löffler, m rus. колпица, f pranc. spatule, f ryšiai: platesnis terminas – girnovės siauresnis terminas – baltoji girnovė siauresnis terminas –… …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • spoonbill sturgeon — Paddlefish Pad dle*fish , n. (Zo[ o]l) A large ganoid fish ({Polyodon spathula}) found in the rivers of the Mississippi Valley. It has a long spatula shaped snout. Called also {duck billed cat}, and {spoonbill sturgeon}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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