Black-faced Spoonbill is a large wading bird. Males and females look alike,
with long, black bills and black facial skin. During the breeding season
adult birds also develop yellow ornamental feathers on the head and breast,
and yellow patches of skin under the eyes.
Black-faced Spoonbills inhabit seashores, estuaries, and areas near fish
farms. They feed mainly on small fish and shrimp by striding quickly along,
sweeping their partly open, spoon-shaped bill from side to side through
the water, feeling for aquatic animals to seize. Often, a bird will scoop
up some food, toss it into the air, and catch in its mouth.
In September, migrant Black-faced Spoonbills begin to congregate in reclaimed
land near the Tsengwen River mouth near the city of Tainan, to pass the
winter. During the day, they rest together in groups; at dusk, they begin
to search for food. There is a well-developed viewing station near Chiku
where spoonbill viewing has become a major activity, with 2,000 to 3,000
people visiting each week during the fall, winter, and early spring. In
late March or early April, the birds leave to return to their breeding
In the early 1990's, the Black-faced Spoonbill was almost extinct. Since
then, its numbers have increased to about 1,200, due to habitat protection.
However, it is still an endangered species. The primary breeding area
is on rocky islands off the coast of Korea and its entire range is limited
to eastern Asia. Approximately 2/3 of the world population winters in
Taiwan's Tsengwen River estuary.
Black-faced Spoonbill Photo Gallery