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The animal on the cover of ADO.NET in a Nutshell is an African spoonbill (Platalea alba). The African spoonbill a long-legged wading bird distinguished by a bare red face and legs, all-white plumage, and a long spatulate bill, the inside of which reacts to touch, causing the bill to snap shut on its prey. It feeds by fishing in shallow water, swinging its open bill from side to side.

The African spoonbill’s habitat includes the lakes, marshes, rivers, and estuaries of southern Africa. A shy and alert bird, it’s usually found singly but can also be encountered in pairs or in groups. It is usually silent except for an occasional grunt when alarmed. It flies with its neck and legs extended, flapping its wings steadily in the air.

At birth, this bird’s beak is short; it gradually develops into its spoon-like shape. Following a spring courtship, eggs are laid in a nest platform of sticks or reeds in a tree near water; however, nests can also be found in swamp reeds, among rocks, marsh plants, or on cliffs. Males and females share incubation and feeding the young for about 20 to 30 days. Young birds begin to fly after another four weeks.

Mary Anne Weeks Mayo was the production editor and copyeditor for ADO.NET in a Nutshell. Ann Schirmer ...

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