Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Shoebill Crane, Cute or Creepy?

  The Shoebill, also known as the Whale-head stork, was only classified in the 19th century when some skins were brought to Europe. It was not until years later that live specimens reached the scientific community. However, the bird was known to both ancient Egyptians and Arabs. 

Although generally ranked with storks, the bird has recently been considered to be more closely related to pelicans and herons, as confirmed by DNA studies.

The Shoebill is normally silent, but they perform bill-clattering displays at the nest. When engaging in these displays, adult birds have also been noted to utter a cow-like moo as well as high-pitched whines. Both nestlings and adults engage in bill-clattering during the nesting season as a means of communication. When young are begging for food, they call out with a sound uncannily like human hiccups

click here for...Shoebill sounds

According to Nicholas Lund...they hunt like total bosses of the swamp. The Shoebill will stand there, motionless as a statue, and wait for some poor lungfish or baby crocodile to swim by. Then the bird will pounce forward, all five feet of it, with its massive bill wide open, engulfing its target along with water, mud, vegetation, and probably any other hapless fish minding their own business. Clamping down on its prey, the bird will start to swing its massive head back and forth, tipping out whatever stuff it doesn’t want to eat. 

Mr. Lund also States, the birds poop on their legs. Apparently this keeps them cool. Warm blood passing through the legs is used to evaporate the liquid waste, resulting in cooler blood circulating through the stork. The science is fascinating, but when you get right down to it, this already mean-looking bird with a huge, clattering death bill now also has poop legs.

It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia.

The Shoebill is a tall bird, with a typical height range of 43 to 55 inches, with some specimens reaching as much as 60 in, that's 5 feet tall! For their size, they surprisingly weigh only up to 15 lbs. The wings are broad, and up to nearly a yard wide, well-adapted to soaring.
                      Cute or creepy, you decide.

Thank you Wikipedia, and Nicholas Lund @ Audubon News

No comments:

Post a Comment