The Eurasian spoonbill forages alone or in small groups, wading methodically through shallow water whilst sweeping its distinctive bill from side to side in search of prey (2). Small fish, aquatic insects, shrimp and other invertebrates comprise the bulk of its diet, but it will also take algae and fragments of aquatic plants, although these may just be accidentally ingested (2) (6). Foraging activity generally peaks around morning and evening, except in coastal areas, where it is governed by the timing of low tide (6).
Populations in the north of this species’ range breed during the spring, whilst in the tropics the timing of the breeding season coincides with the rains. Most breeding pairs nest in monospecific colonies, or mixed species colonies in which they tend to form small monospecific groups. The nest is a platform of twigs, sticks and other bits of vegetation located on the ground on a small island, or up to five metres above the ground in dense reed, bushes, trees or mangroves (2) (6). The female usually lays three to four eggs which are incubated for around 24 to 25 days before hatching (2).
Except for the Northwest Africa (P. l. balsaci) and Red Sea (P. l. archeri) populations, which are sedentary, the Eurasian spoonbill is migratory throughout its range, (5). During migration this species generally flies in formation at considerable height, and, on long-distance flights, uses sites along the way to stopover and recover energy (2).