Shoebill: Huge Horrifying Living Bird

We’ve discussed some scary birds in previous articles, like the Dracula Parrot. However, this one might take the cake. Shoebill. This huge horrifying living bird looks like something you’d see in the Jurassic Park. There’s a lot to to discuss when it comes to this tremendous and fascinating bird, so, here’s shoebill: huge horrifying living bird article.


A grown shoebill. Image credits: CalcdUncertainty

First of all, let’s talk about how does this bird look.

This bird looks like a stork with a very large bill. They used to be classified as storks, but they are no longer. They belong to pelecaniformes. Adult shoebills tend to be almost entirely grey, whereas adolescents tend to be more brown.


Why are they called shoebills?

Because their bills look like shoes. Fun fact, they’re also called whaleheads, whale-headed storks, or shoe-billed storks.


How big is this bird?

Pretty big. Well, first of all, they’re tall. Adults tend to be 110 to 140 cm or 43 to 55 inches in height. There have been some shoebills who have been recorded to be 152 cm or 60 inches tall! The length from their tails to beaks can range from 100 to 140 cm or 39 to 55 inches. Their wingspan is about 230 to 260 cm or 7 ft 7 inches to 8 ft 6 inches.

On average, males tend to weight about 5.6 kg or 12 pounds. Females are smaller. They tend to weigh about 4.9 kg or 11 pounds.


Shoebill moving it’s head. Imnage credits: HellaPebs

Where do these huge horrifying birds live?

In the wild, shoebills live in freshwater swamps of central tropical Africa. Their habitats are in parts of South Sudan, Eastern Kongo, Uganda, Rwanda, western Tanzania and northern Zambia.


What do shoebills eat?

Shoebills are mostly piscivorous. They eat fish like lungfish, eels, catfish, bichir and tilapia. Although more rarely, they also eat frogs, water snakes, Nile monitors, turtles, snails, rodents, small waterfowl and even baby crocodiles.

Shoebills are actually known to fight against crocodiles.


How long have people known about them?

Shoebills have been known to ancient Egyptians and Arabs. Ancient Egyptians depicted them in their art and ancient Arabs called them “Abu-Markhub”, which translates to “father of a slipper”.


Shoebills are incredible predatory, dinosour-like birds that are very scary looking. They aren’t storks, even though they might resemble them, because of the structures of their bodies. Also, they make horrifying sounds by clattering their bills. It actually sounds a lot like a machine gun fire. However, they’re also currently endangered and hopefully spreading awareness about them will help them. And that concludes this shoebill: huge horrifying living bird article.

If you’d like to learn more about shoebills, here’s a link to a different article on a different website.

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