Cutlery birds

Several months ago I was out riding my bike past some tidal mudflats when I saw a couple with a giant camera lens looking out at the exposed shore. I had no idea what the couple were looking at but I was intrigued, and had my suspicions so I stopped to see. Lo and behold they were twitchers (I should really have guessed given the enormity of their camera lenses). And what were they looking at? The beautiful Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia). The Royal Spoonbill (kĊtuku ngutupapa) breeds across most of Australia and in several places in New Zealand. They are also found as stragglers in Indonesia, New Guinea and several Pacific islands. Apparently, these birds a relatively new arrival to New Zealand (1950s) but have established several breeding colonies since that time.

Royal Spoonbill (from http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/, photo credit Craig McKenzie)
I had intended writing more about this bird but in my search for info I was reminded of a new resource for New Zealand birds - New Zealand Birds Online. All I can say is Wow! It is an amazing resource for anyone including; hardcore twitchers, scientists and those who are just interested in "that bird they saw".

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