The Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) is a long-legged and colonial bird that is widely distributed in the Palearctic region, although in a segmented form, extending from the European continent to Japan, as well as North Africa. The breeding population of Europe is mainly concentrated in the Netherlands, France and Spain, the latter hosting between 40% and 60% of the western European population. The population centers of this species in Spain are found in Andalusia, the most important colonies being those located in the Odiel and Guadalquivir Marshes. In addition, its reproduction has been occasionally verified in Extremadura.
Despite the fact that most of the breeding population of Western Europe migrates to the African continent until reaching wetlands in Mauritania and Senegal, wintering groups of Eurasian spoonbills can be observed in some parts of the peninsular geography. In this sense, in the “Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar” Regional Park, a wintering group consisting of between 25 and 45 specimens is observed annually. They generally make group trips to look for food in various wetlands associated with the Mar Menor, mainly Las Encañizadas, the Marchamalo salt flats, La Marina del Carmolí or Los Urrutias.
Thanks to the scientific ringing of birds with PVC rings for remote reading and to all bird lovers who process the records of their observations, we have been able to learn that at least 4 of these spoonbills were born in the French Camargue. The companions of Tour du Valat have given us their life histories…
AAHB: At 11 years old, he is the longest-living individual of the four we have received news. In total 27 observations have been processed, mainly in its Camargue breeding area. Despite having spent this winter with us, this specimen has traveled throughout its life to other parts of the peninsular territory, being observed in 2009 in the Cal Tet lagoon (El Prat de Lobregat) and in 2011 in the San Salinas José del Palmar (Cádiz).
AHFJ: ringed on May 22, 2014 as chick in the established colony on the Radeaux Bessons islet. The only record of this female, sexed like this at the time of her ringing, is the one obtained in San Pedro in November 2019.
ALXT: born in 2014, seems to have found its wintering place in these salt flats. In the winter of 2018/19 it was observed feeding on the Encañizadas. This year it has been repeated, being observed in October and December near the Llana beach.
AXFJ: It was ringed on May 7, 2018. With less than 2 years of age it is the youngest of those registered. It has been observed on several occasions in the Marchamalo salt flats, within the local movements that it carries out around the Mar Menor to feed.
We hope to continue learning about the life of the spoonbills and other birds that inhabit the salt pans of the Salinas and Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar Regional Park.