The Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) uses habitats that are intertidal or within 2-3 km from tidal areas for feeding and loafing. Habitats used for feeding are water bodies containing fish and shrimps and a relatively wide zone of shallow water with a depth ranging between 6 and 21 cm. The bottom consisted of fine sediments with no or little vegetation or other obstructions such as stones, twigs, branches and roots of trees, wide and deep channels, or debris. They have a preference for highly turbid water, but seemed indifferent to salinity, which was varied between 0‰ and 48‰. Such sites are found on flooded intertidal mudflats, and also in tidal lagoons, brackish pools, fishponds, and gei wai (traditional ponds for shrimp farming in mangrove areas). Feeding habitats have to contain suitable food and also be relatively safe. In contrast with the requirements for their feeding habitats, the choice of loafing areas is extensive, and includes places of relative safety: undisturbed, with an open view for early discovery of predators in time and the possibility of easy escape. Shallow (<15 cm) water is necessary for bathing. They loaf in water of a depth of 0-15 cm and also on land, in trees and on human-made structures. Habitat characters, other than water, are subordinate to those of safety. The difference in requirements is evident in narrow channels between high and dense vegetation where Black-faced Spoonbills feed, but where they never loaf.
Vol. 27 • No. 2
Vol. 27 • No. 2