Species Index

Platalea regia
(Gould, 1838)

Common Name: Royal Spoonbill

Distribution: Mainland Australia except western deserts. Intermittently observed in Tasmania.

Ecological Notes: Typically observed on freshwater wetlands and swamps, and saltwater or brackish coastal areas. The species feeds primarily on fish in freshwater, and shrimps in tidal flats. However, it will also eat other crustaceans and aquatic insects. 

Additional Notes: The Royal Spoonbill feeds by placing its bill into shallow water and using a side-ways swaying of the head to search for prey. The structure of its bill limits it to feeding in water that is less than 40 cm deep. The bird walks slowly, disturbing small animals from the bottom of the body of water, which it senses and catches with its bill. When an item is sensed, the spoonbill switches to intensive sweeping of a small area. 

References: Atlas of Living Australia at Accessed 29 July 2020.

Wikipedia. “Royal Spoonbill.” Last modified 18 February 2020.

eBird Australia at,a%20sweeping%20motion%20to%20feed. Accessed 13 August 2023.