Up to 30+ years in captivity.
Males & females are similar in color and appearance, with males slightly larger than females and with longer bills. Both have feathers gray in color with white tufts sticking out from back of head. Beak is tan in color and may have dark blotches. Legs are long and skinny, a characteristic typical of wading birds.
Behavior: The shoebill is a solitary species, rarely found in groups. Breeding pairs may be seen foraging on opposite ends of territory, but rarely together. Shoebills are often silent, but participate in “bill-clattering”, a behavior characteristic of storks. Adult shoebills use the behavior as a greeting at the nest, but young shoebills can be heard making this vocalization as well, in addition to a “hiccupping” voice when calling for food. Food permitting, shoebills are non-migratory. However in some regions, they can be found moving seasonally between feeding and nesting zones. Generally regarded as reluctant to fly, adult shoebills can be seen soaring on thermals over their territory. They can be found roosting in trees, but are more commonly found on the ground near water. They forage in shallow, aquatic environments, commonly surrounded by papyrus and grasses. If water is too deep, they will stand on a floating platform of vegetation. Walks slowly, then pounces beak-first with whole body at prey. Favorite foraging spots include waters low in oxygen, where fish must surface more often. Shoebills are very docile and tolerative of human presence.
credit Lowry Park Zoo