Lopatarul | Facts & Information

# Lopatarul | Facts & Information

Lopatarul | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Lopatarul

The shoveler (Platalea leucorodia) is a large and graceful bird that has spread widely in Europe and Asia. With its distinctive beak, which is shaped like a shovel, it can sift fish and insects out of the water. The shovel-shaped beak is one of six species of shovel.

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Its occurrence is increasingly rare, because the surfaces for hatching and food procurement are polluted and drained continuously.

In Central Europe, with the exception of hatching sites near the lakes of the Netherlands, the lopatar is a rare guest. In our country it hatches especially in the regions of the Danube Delta.

It can be recognized from a distance due to its gauge and white feathers; it can be observed looking for food, in the area of sweet lakes and at the mouth of rivers.

Having a long shovel-shaped beak, it can be easily distinguished from other large birds, in addition it flies like a stork, with its neck and head stretched forward.

Feed The Lopatarul

Shovelers get their food especially at sunrise and sunset.

They are often seen in white groups, like ghosts, entering the shallow waters disorderly.

Due to their long legs they can also enter 50 cm deep waters. They step slowly and cautiously so as not to disturb the water and scare the prey.

As they walk, they move their beak immersed in water, ajar, like a pendulum, catching in this way everything that is consumable. This way they catch most of the food, but if they see a good piece of food on the shore, they throw themselves at it with rapid jumps and swallow it.

Depending on the geographical location and the season, the shovel's menu can be very varied, mostly it depends on the permanent habitat: salt or fresh water.

The main food is always represented by various aquatic insects, dragonflies, snails, various species of crayfish and fish, Bream, tadpoles and young frogs.

Features Of The Shovel

The shoveler lives mainly in marine lagoons and at the mouth of rivers into the sea, in reed beds. Although some individuals live alone, they often appear in groups of 50 birds in shallow waters, where they seek food.

The long-legged spoonbill prefers Sandy lakes and banks and slow-flowing rivers, not only because they are rich in food, but especially because they provide an undisturbed habitat without human intervention.

The shovel visits both salty and sweet waters, but prefers slow, flowing waters to fast rivers. In our country it is found especially in the Danube Delta, here it hatches undisturbed and takes advantage of the abundant food. In autumn it migrates to the Nile Valley in Central and South-West Africa; in these regions it spends the cold season.

There are still five other species of lopatari, including the American pink lopatari (P. ajaja), the african lopatari (P. alba) and the small lopatari or Asian black-faced lopatari (P. minor).

Reproduction Lopatarul

The brooding period lasts from April to June. We know very little about how pairs form, although many birds with mating instincts have been observed. The yellow Motul, located on the top of the head, flutters and the birds clean each other.

The nest is built on reed beds, or at least 5 metres high, on a tree. In colonies, nests are at least 1 or 2 meters away from each other, where space is restricted they almost touch each other. The shovel is not aggressive or territorial, but during the brooding period it protects its area from intruders.

When the nest is ready, the female lays an egg at intervals of 3-4 days. Parents take turns brooding. Usually the female lays eggs once a year, but if the nest is preyed upon or flooded, the laying and hatching of the eggs can be repeated.

After hatching the chicks are fed by both parents with regurgitated food. After 4 weeks the chicks no longer fit in the nest and wait to be fed near the nest. Sometimes they can mix with the chicks of the neighboring nest. At about 7 weeks the chicks can fly, but stay with their parents for a while.

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