Platalea leucorodia, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 231 (1766) ; Naum. ix. p. 312 ; Taf. 230 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 320, pl. lxxxv. ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 286 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 32 ; (Dresser), vi. p. 319, pl. 407 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvi. p. 44 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 366 ; Saunders, p. 393 ; Lilford, vii. p. 51, pl. 18 ; P. major, Temm, and Schlegel, Faun. Jap. Aves, p. 119, pl. lxxv. (1850) ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 451 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 970.
Spatule blanche, French ; Colhereira, Portug. ; Espatula, Cuchareta, Span. ; Palettuni, Ital. ; Loffler, German ; Lepelaar, Dutch ; Skeeheira, Dan. ; Skegaas, Norweg. ; Skedstork, Swed. ; Kolpitza, Russ. ; Abu-Malaqah, Bands, Arab. ; Bou-kar-kaba, Moor. ; Chamach-buza, Hindu. ; Hiro-sagi, Jap.
Male ad. (Holland). Entire plumage pure white, except that the lower neck is buffy yellow nuchal feathers much elongated, forming a crest ; bill black marked with dull yellowish, the plate yellow, marked on the upper part with black ; loral space yellowish ; bare gular space reddish yellow ; legs and feet dusky blackish ; iris red. Culmen 7.2, wing 15.0. tail 5.0, tarsus 5.0, bare part of tibia 3.5 inch. Female similar but with smaller crest. In the winter the crest is absent or nearly so.
Hab. Central and southern Europe, formerly breeding in England, but now of rare occurrence in Britain and southern Scandinavia ; has strayed to the Faeroes ; Madeira, Canaries, and Azores ; Africa, on the east side south to Zanzibar, being replaced in S. Africa by P. tenuirostris, Temm. ; Asia east to China, north to southern Dauria ; a rare straggler to Japan, where P. minor occurs in the extreme south.
The Spoonbill affects marshy localities, especially near the sea-coast, and is shy and wary in its general habits. Its flight somewhat resembles that of the Stork, and its note is said to be deep and Heron-like, but like the Stork it makes a clatter¬ing sound with its bill. Its food consists of amphibians, aquatic insects, &c. It breeds in communities, placing its nest on a tree or on a low bush, or else amongst the reeds. The nest is constructed of twigs, sticks, and flags, lined with small flags or rushes, and the eggs, 3 to 4 in number, are white, with the faintest blue tinge when fresh, sparsely spotted and blotched with pale red, and measure about 2.75 by 1.81. In Europe the breeding season is usually in May, but in India it varies from April to November according to latitude.
812. Platalea leucorodia