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The animal on the cover of ADO.NET Cookbook is a white spoonbill (Platelea leucorodia), also called the common or Eurasian white spoonbill, named for its large, spatulate bill. Spoonbills feed by wading through the shallow waters of their marshy habitats, moving their partly opened bills from side to side to filter out mud and water. When the sensitive nerve endings inside their bills detect an edible morsel, they snap them shut. A spoonbill’s typical diet includes insects, larvae, small crustaceans, and tiny fish.
Mature white spoonbills are about 85 centimeters long from the tips of their tails to the tips of their bills, and their wingspans average 125 centimeters. As the name suggests, white spoonbill feathers are a creamy white. During breeding season, however, adults develop yellow patches on their breasts, faces, and bills.
White spoonbills are found in northeast Africa and much of Europe and Asia. They nest in trees and reed beds, typically in large colonies and sometimes with other bird species in the Threskiornithidae family, such as herons and storks. Males gather nesting materials, and females weave these sticks and reeds into shallow, bowl-shaped nests. Females generally lay a clutch of 3 to 4 eggs per year and share ...