Animals | July 17, 2021 3:07 AM | Hang Bona

The Shoebill Stork: 8 Things You Didn’t Know

The shoebill stork is a big, scary bird that resembles a prehistoric creature.

We can see why the shoebill stork is considered the “world’s most scary bird.”

The huge beak of this large, ugly dinosaur-like bird has earned it the nickname “Whalehead.”

But it’s not simply its appearance that makes it difficult to believe, it also has a strong personality to match.

Shoebill storks are elusive, solitary birds of prey that can be found in and around Uganda, and they are frequently at the top of a birding tourist’s wish list.

They live in freshwater wetlands and can be seen quietly waiting for their food in tall grass.

There are many misunderstandings about the shoebill stork, the most common of which is that it is not a stork at all, Here’s a few more!.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Shoebill Storks.

1. Shoebill storks are better at staring than you are.

Shoebill storks are big and have enormous beaks that resemble Dutch wooden clogs, making them stick out in the marshes.

Because they aren’t as agile as other birds, their hunting methods differ slightly from those of their smaller counterparts.

Shoebills will stand practically immobile in the water or another hiding place for hours on end, their bills on their necks.

This, along with their bright golden eyes, makes for a terrifying death glare.

They’ll wait as long as it takes to break their cover and seize their prey.

2. Shoebill storks are enormous birds.

As previously said, these birds are massive; on average, they stand 4 to 5 feet tall and have a wingspan of nearly 8 feet! They fly, hold their balance, and terrify predators with their enormous wings.

Because shoebill storks frequently lose their equilibrium when standing on only two legs, this is critical.

With barely 150 flaps per minute, the shoebill stork has the slowest flap rate of any bird.

They fly with their heads and necks curled backward to improve aerodynamics and flight time.

3. Shoebill storks have more in common with pelicans than with storks.

Naturalists have argued for centuries about where shoebill storks should be classified in the animal family tree.

On the one hand, their vocal organ resembles that of a heron, which is related to pelicans and boobies and belongs to the Pelecaniformes family.

Shoebill storks, on the other hand, do not have the same specialized feathers as herons do to aid in preening.

As a result, they must be storks belonging to the Ciconiiformes family, A shoebill stork belongs to one of these two families, but no one knows which one.

4. Shoebill storks are lonely birds.

Shoebill storks spend practically the whole year on their own, They live alone, eat alone, and the only time they are with other birds is when they are mating.

Even when a male and female are together, they still hunt and eat individually, Two shoebill storks working together is an extremely rare sight.

5. Shoebill storks have earned their fearsome reputation.

If necessary, Shoebill storks will attack a crocodile, Living in the marsh can be risky because predators are abundant and food is scarce.

As a result, they’ve become violent and will fight both tiny and huge creatures to survive.

They have no qualms about attacking a stronger animal for any variety of reasons, including simply being in their line of sight, and crocodiles are no exception.

Stanley S. Flower, a Victorian photographer, and biologist had to learn the hard way how vicious a shoebill stork can be, “The shoebill is capable of inflicting a very severe bite.”

6. Shoebill storks are usually silent, but when necessary, they may be incredibly loud.

The shoebill stork has no need to produce noise because they are always alone and are absolutely silent when hunting.

When it comes to mating, though, they will make a very loud call to attract a partner.

The sound is a sequence of extremely loud popping noises that have been compared to machine-gun noises.

7. Shoebill storks have beaks that are formed like shoes.

The beak of the shoebill stork is the world’s third longest, measuring up to 24cm in length and 20cm in width, and it can be more than a fourth the size of their bodies.

Its bill is formed like a shoe, so the name “shoebill,” and it resembles a baleen whale, therefore the nickname “Whalehead.”

Their beaks have evolved to make it easier for them to devour small fish and other animals in one gulp.

The tip of their beak curls down to form a hook, and it is this sharp curvature that allows them to pierce their prey’s bodies.

8. Young shoebill storks are prone to attacking one another.

Larger birds, who prefer to be alone and hence display territorial tendencies, are more prevalent than you may imagine.

When there are multiple shoebills born in the same nest, they are known to compete for their mother’s attention.

The larger children frequently drive the smaller offspring to exit the nest and live on their own.


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