spoon·​bill ˈspün-ˌbil How to pronounce spoonbill (audio)
: any of several wading birds (family Threskiornithidae) related to the ibises that have an expanded bill that is flattened and rounded at the tip
: any of several broad-billed ducks (such as the shoveler)

Examples of spoonbill in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The large pink wader’s appearance also highlights the beginning of the annual post-breeding dispersal of southern herons, egrets, spoonbills, and storks north into the piedmont of the Carolinas. Taylor Piephoff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 As the spoonbills prance on sandbars, a reddish egret performs a vaudeville-style dance to stir up fish. Robin Soslow, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Islands in the lake and marshy areas downriver were nesting sites for great herons, glossy ibises, Eurasian spoonbills and others, said Oleksii Vasyliuk, an ecologist and zoologist. Jeffrey Gettleman, BostonGlobe.com, 3 Sep. 2023 This year, stormy weather could have pushed spoonbills like this one, believed to be a juvenile, away from their usual habitats. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Aug. 2023 No one knows for sure what happened, but birds do fly off course or get blown off-track by a storm, especially juveniles like Green Bay's spoonbill. Jeff Bollier, USA TODAY, 1 Aug. 2023 But for birders in Wisconsin, the spoonbill’s appearance is unprecedented. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Aug. 2023 Summer rains swelled the shallow inland sea, creating seasonal overflows that sustained the Everglades and its alligators, panthers, spoonbills and snail kites. New York Times, 9 July 2023 Between anonymous glass office buildings and tidy single-story houses, there were huge expanses of open space: a flock of ibises screeched from an enormous tulip tree; an African spoonbill waded on fuchsia legs along the edges of a muddy river; birds of prey circled above me, riding thermals. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spoonbill.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1678, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spoonbill was circa 1678

Dictionary Entries Near spoonbill

Cite this Entry

“Spoonbill.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoonbill. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


spoon·​bill ˈspün-ˌbil How to pronounce spoonbill (audio)
: any of several wading birds related to the ibises that have a bill with a broad, flat, and rounded tip

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