Shoebill Stork

East-Central Africa
Freshwater swamps and dense marshes
Frogs, small crocodiles, and especially lungfish and other mud puddle fish
4 1/2 feet tall
Chicks have bare skin upon hatching, but soon develop fluffy down feathers.
The shoebill stork is also known as the whalehead stork.
Patience Makes Perfect—and Dinner!

Shoebill storks are often compared to statues as they stand perfectly still for long periods in marshes, waiting for a meal of fish to surface in the water. These birds often hold their wings out to either side as they wait—this creates shade that draws fish closer. At just the right moment, the stork lunges forward and snaps up the fish in its wide bill.



Shoebill stork nests are normally woven from grass and made on the ground. Each breeding season, the female normally lays one to three rough-surfaced, white eggs. Both parents then care for their chicks, teaching them how to eat by offering them food by holding it up. The chick has to reach out, grab the food, and swallow the whole fish by itself.