The Sporkbill (Pessimus sporkus)
The Sporkbill is one of the most easily identifiable avian species in North
America. The Sporkbill’s primary field marks are its bright purple plumage and its spoon shaped bill with three spikes at the front of the bill. 4 feet tall (1.2 meters) with a wingspan of 2 feet (.6 meters).
Occurrence. The swamps and coast of the Southeastern United States.
The Sporkbill first arrived on the natural landscape when an unlikely union
of species occurred. A Sawtooth Fish and a Roseate Spoonbill were bred in a lab off the coast of Japan, and produced the Sporkbill, which we all know and “love” today. The fruit of this unholy union was dumped on the coast of Georgia.
Sporkbills have very unusual hunting habits. They put their open bills
underneath the water for several hours, then promptly gives up and starts
using its spork shaped bill to stab at its prey. Their prey, which consists
of frogs, fish, and turtles, are caught up in the torrent of spikes. Sadly
for the Sporkbill, its eyes are too weak (and brain too small) to realize
its prey is literally stuck to its face. It repeats this toilsome task for
weeks and somehow, amazingly, they survive.
Sporkbills nesting behavior has been described as “futile” and “ridiculous.”
Sadly, these words describe their nests perfectly. Sporkbills nest below
the high tide line. The nests themselves are just an unorganized pile or
reeds and sand. They stand over their mediocre piles for about an hour and
then forget what they are doing and wander off.
There is no record of a breeding pair of Sporkbills during their known
existence. Both genders exist, but their eggs amount to little more than
Although the current population is only 10 birds, it is not listed as either
endangered or threatened. It is currently not listed anywhere other than this book. The Sporkbill is widely considered to be “mythical” despite evidence. The Sporkbill inhabits foggy swamps with a plant known as “Shaky Cam” that causes human hands to start trembling when filming. This makes video and photographic evidence from the area useless. There is an audio recording of a Sporkbill call, but it is drowned out by laughter and, oddly enough, a banjo. Getting listed would be a huge victory for the Sporkbill.
Art by the talented Anne MCallum
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