Date: 29 October 2013
The unique Royal spoonbill at Mission Bay Lake Taupo
The unique large white water birds that have flown into Waihi Wetland near Tokaanu for spring are Royal spoonbills / kōtuku ngutupapa, and can also be seen in the shallows of the southern end of Lake Taupō.
They are fascinating birds to watch as they submerge their large spoon shaped bill in the water and sweep their bill side to side in wide arcs for food while wading.
This is the third year in a row that the spoonbills have gathered at this location, and their numbers are slowly increasing. It is thought that they are single birds, but there is hope that they will establish a breeding ground here.
Department of Conservation ecologist Alison Beath is asking the public to help in observations of breeding behaviour.
"Look out for their mating dance, which is exaggerated bowing while clapping their bills. During breeding the birds also grow a breeding crest of distinctive long white crest feathers on the head."
King Country Taupō District Office
Department of Conservation
Phone: +64 7 376 2535
Mobile: +64 21 074 9984