African Spoonbill

African spoonbill

Platalea alba

At the Detroit Zoo
Visitors can experience these white-feathered characters in their African Forest habitat from April through October. The African spoonbills at the Detroit Zoo are known for their social structure. These birds often pilfer each other’s nesting materials, eggs and even mates, then proceed to have squawking “arguments” about the disputed possessions. Despite these squabbles, 32 chicks have been reared at the Detroit Zoo since its first successful chick rearing in 2001. That makes the Zoo’s breeding program for African spoonbills and one of the most productive spoonbill propagation programs in the country.

These birds have long, red legs, white bodies with red faces and bills. Their beaks are shaped like a spoon, thus the name.

Fun Facts

  • African spoonbills sweep the bottom of rivers with their wide bills for food.