This intriguing bird was a fun capture. Every time I pointed my camera at him he seemed to disappear before I could get a shot. I decided to wait him out and voila, the clear shot.
Not the best looking bird of the day but after a while he got better looking. Guessing I just got used to him. He looked like a throw back from prehistoric times. He wasn't exactly my idea of what I thought a stork should look like, at least not one that delivers babies. :-)
Here are some facts about the Shoebill. So if you have never seen one before, you have now.
Fun Facts About the Shoebill Stork
- They have big feet , heel to toe can reach about 7 inches. That would be about a size 5 or 6 shoe but as you can clearly see he prefers not wearing any.
- This guys beak can reach up to 9 inches in length and 8 inches in width. Now, that's big.
- Despite weighing in as much as 12 to 13 pounds, you can often find him standing balanced on floating vegetation, from where he does his fishing. He prefers poorly oxygenated water because it forces the fish to surface for air. If going in for the kill, he puts his wings out in a backwards fashion to maintain his balance. Hard to imagine 12 lbs of bird standing on floating vegetation.
- When he is not balancing on a clump of water greenery, he is a good wader. He moves very slowly, watching the water for signs of fish. Then he strikes quickly and decisive.
- At over 4 feet in height, one might say these birds are solitary giants, only getting together with their female counterparts for mating. That fact struck me funny but I won't go there. LOL
- Shoebills are found in mostly in the central parts of Africa. Their distribution seems to coincide with the presence of lungfish in the marshy areas. Worldwide 5 to 8 thousand of these birds exist.
- While the shoebill is called a stork, at least genetically speaking it is more closely related to the pelican or heron families. You have to love that twist of feathers on the top of his head. Sort of looks like Alfalfa in the Our Gang comedies. If you recognize Alfalfa in him , you are definitely older than me, LOL
- If you would like to know more, you can read all about these most unusual birds by clicking here, All About the Shoebill Stork
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