SHOEBILL STORK - Yikes!
© Zdeněk Chalupa
I couldn’t resist - these pre-historic looking birds never cease to amaze me :)
This species 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. There are Egyptian images depicting the Shoebill, while the Arabs referred to the bird as abu markub, which means one with a shoe, a reference to the bird’s distinctive bill.
Shoebills feed in muddy waters, preying on fish, frogs, reptiles such as baby crocodiles, and small mammals. They nest on the ground and lay from 1 to 3 eggs, usually during the dry season.
The population is estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals, the majority of which live in Sudan. BirdLife International have classified it as Vulnerable with the main threats being habitat destruction, disturbance and hunting.
Shoebill moving aside a duck