Nikon D700 & Nikkor 80-400mm lens
The Group on 31.03.2012
The Great Outdoors
I Love Birds
Nature In Its Entirety
Pictures With A Wow Factor
The Shoebill also known as Whalehead or Shoe-billed Stork, is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill. The adult bird is 115 to 150 centimeters (45 to 59 in) tall, 100 to 140 centimeters (39 to 55 in) long, 230 to 260 centimeters (91 to 100 in) across the wingspan and weighs 4 to 7 kilograms (8.8 to 15 lb). Their beaks have an average length of 30 centimeters (12 in). The adult is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia.
Shoebills feed in muddy waters, preying on fish, frogs, reptiles such as baby crocodiles, and small mammals. They nest on the ground and lay from 1 to 3 eggs, usually during the dry season. These eggs measure 80 to 90 millimeters (3.1 to 3.5 in) x 57 to 61 millimeters (2.2 to 2.4 in). Both parents incubate the eggs for about a month. The newborn chicks will be able to fly after about 100 days, while it will take them 3 years before they become fully sexually mature.
The population is estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals, the majority of which live in swamps in Sudan, Uganda, eastern Zaire, and Zambia. BirdLife International have classified it as Vulnerable with the main threats being habitat destruction, disturbance and hunting.