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Of the six species of spoonbills that can be found in various parts of the world, only two call Australia their home. The most common of these is the Royal / Black-billed Spoonbill, Platalea regia, with the Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Platalea flavipes, being a more elusive species.
It’s the unique spoon-shaped bill of these beautiful wading birds that makes them instantly recognisable, and their bill is the perfect tool for these aquatic bird. Sensors, called papillae, that are on the inside of the bill allow each bird to sense the slightest movement of its aquatic prey. And once it’s aware that some tasty morsel is in the vicinity, the spoonbill sweeps its bill slowly back and forth in a wide arc through the water and grabs any small and tasty creatures that are within its reach.
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