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A shoebill stork- A bird that looks like a dinosaur

Shoebill stork common at Mabamba wetland swamp

A shoebill stork- A bird that looks like a dinosaur

A shoebill stork (Balaenicepts rex) is bizarre looking, shy and elusive and 54 inches /122 cm tall and has a bill that looks like like a shoe. It hunts like a heron from a standing position and lung fish are his favorite meal. Shoebill storks are only found in Africa, and are critically endangered with about 5000 remaining. It is a pre-historic bird and some scientists have reported that it is said to be related to dinosaurs- That is scary- Right?

The shoebill stork ranks among the 10 highly sought after birds by birders on a Uganda bird watching safari and cannot be missed at Mabamba wetland swamp in Uganda as well as Murchison Falls National Park. Mabamba wetland bay swamp is a perfect bird life sanctuary with other birds that include the papyrus swamp gonelek, African Jacana, malachite Kingfisher among other birds. Several shoebill storks live in this swamp, offering the perfect opportunity to see them anytime of the year. The shoebill storks hunt in the reeds and build their nests in the sandy banks. Their chicks must be fully fletched before the rains arrive or else they will be swept away by floods. Only one out of three chicks survives.

A shoebill stork looks like it is made up of different spare parts from different birds, for example it looks like it stole its beak from a pelican, legs from a flamingo, and it is head from an eagle.

Bizarre looking shoebill stork

Fun facts about shoebill storks


  1. Shoebill storks are so patient and may stand still for about 2 hours waiting patiently to catch their prey in water.


  1. They can live for more than 35 years although their habitant is being encroached on by man. Shoebill stork reproduction begins at three years old. And they can survive in the wild under good conditions for more than thirty-five years


  1. They are big and tall and can literally look you in the eyes. They weigh about 16 pounds and are nearly five feet in height.


  1. Shoebill storks are very solitary and rarely make noise


  1. When they make noise, it is really intense like a gun shot. They make a clapping noise especially during mating time


  1. Shoebill storks poo on themselves to keep cool


  1. They Remained undetected Until The 1850s. The bird remained uncatalogued by many Western societies until midway through the 19th century.

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