Name: Black-faced Spoonbill
Scientific name: Platalea minor
Conservation status: IUCN - Endangered, CMS - Appendix I

Black-faced Spoonbill is a waterbird restricted mainly to the East Asia region. It is the smallest and rarest of the six spoonbill species in the world. It is recognized as a successful case of conservation with international collaboration, which helped the population recovered from only a few hundred in the 1990s to over 5000 birds in 2021.


The Black-faced Spoonbill is a large white waterbird with a long neck and legs. Their body size is 60-78cm in length. It can be easily identified by its big black spoon-shaped bill. The body is covered with white feathers but the facial skin is bare and black but no feather around the eye. During the breeding season, the plumage on the head and chest turns yellow and has elongated head feathers.

Distribution range

*This interactive map was produced by EAAFP Black-faced Spoonbill Working Group and EAAFP Secretariat.

Breeding grounds: They breed mainly on outlying islets of West coast of North Korea, South Korea, and Liaoning province of China mainland, and a few breeding pairs on the east coast of Khanka Lake, Russia.

Passage or in winter: west coast of Korea peninsular, Japan, coastal areas of eastern China.

Wintering grounds: Tsengwen Estuary of Taiwan (China), the Deep Bay area of Hong Kong (China), coast of South China, Jeju in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines.


Namdong Reservoir (Black-faced Spoonbill breeding site) ⓒ Yehyun Shin/EAAFP

They mainly breed in small colonies on islets off the coast near tidal flats. In non-breeding time, they mostly feed in tidal flats, and would use artificial wetlands like fishponds. They sometimes can be found in freshwater habitats.

Population estimate

About 2,250 mature individuals. A total of 5,222 Black-faced Spoonbills were recorded in the 2021 international Black-faced Spoonbill winter census.

Check [here] for the information of annual international Black-faced Spoonbill winter census.

Main threats

The major threat is habitat loss resulting from industrial development and land reclamation. Pollution leading to habitat degradation are ongoing threats; Human disturbance due to recreation, fishing, and collecting shellfish.

How you can help

  • Raising awareness and knowledge about Black-faced Spoonbill, such as distribution sites and the factors causing its decline
  • Support us to do studies and surveys (join Citizen Science monitoring programme such as International BFS winter census)
  • Report sighting of the species and record the sites at (
  • Sustainable management of the sites where Black-faced Spoonbill use, restrict recreational fishing and other types of disturbance
  • Wetlands clean up to remove rubbish
  • Learn more about the work of EAAFP Black-faced Spoonbill Working Group
  • Donate and support EAAFP’s work as volunteers

Learn more about Black-faced Spoonbill


Click [here] to download the Black-faced Spoonbill Factsheet. All Copyrights Reserved.