The spoonbill is a large white bird. It has a long black, yellow edged bill with a spatula shaped tip. It is 80-93cm long with a 120-135 wingspan. Adults have an ochre breast patch and all white wings with a bushy white crest during the breeding season. Juvenile birds have black tips to their outer wing feathers.
They can be confused with egrets in flight but the spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched.