Spoon-bill fits the bill!
The Yellow-billed Spoonbill is quite a common sight on the Wilson Inlet; it is often seen in groups of 10 to 30, a flock of 300 was recently recorded at the eastern end of the Wilson Inlet. It is a large white bird with a long, distinctive spoon-shaped bill. A bird’s bill is often thought of as a hard, insensitive piece of external skeleton, but in the case of the Yellow-billed Spoonbill it is a sophisticated food detection, capture and dispatching instrument. Both the upper and lower “spoons” are lined with small knob-like structures known as “papillae” which are sensitive to vibration and are used to detect prey.
They feed on a wide array of aquatic bugs, crustacea and fish by sweeping their bill from side to side as they wade through the water. They can often be seen following other birds such as herons or egrets, picking up prey disturbed by them. The prey, once captured, needs to be transferred to the back of the bill. For larger prey, held between the “spoons”, the prey is flipped in the air (occasionally more than once) until it is caught in the back of the bill and eaten. The smaller prey is transferred to the mouth by a cunning hydraulic method, without having to raise the bill, making feeding much more efficient. The “spoons” are not flat on the inside, but have a broad, teardrop-shaped depression, which tapers elegantly into a narrow channel leading to the mouth, when the spoons are brought together, whilst submerged, the water and prey are forced up the narrow passage and into the mouth.
In the breeding season (August to October in the south) they grow long black plumes from the “scapular” region (base of upper wing) and creamy breast plumes. Spoonbills are known to have bred in wetlands west of Denmark, the incubation period is around 3-1/2 weeks, after which the chicks are spoon-fed.