Shoe Bill Stock -Uganda Safari
Shoe Bill Stock -Uganda Safari : The Shoebill stock is a unique species at the same time known as whale-headed stork, it is a very large stork like other birds. The name shoebill comes from its enormous shoe-shaped bill. However, the adult shoebill is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner and they can be found in tropical east Africa in large swamps from South Sudan to Zambia.
There population ranges between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals of which the majority live in swamps of Uganda also in, South Sudan, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, the Central African Republic northern Cameroon, Malawi, Botswana, South-western Ethiopia and the upper Congo River. Interestingly, shoebill is the most sought after birds in Africa and quite remarkable sight you could imagine to see on your Uganda Birding Safari.
What is so different about the Shoebill
There are a few interesting facts about this bird that makes it a unique species worth encounter on Safari.
The shoebill stork has outstanding prehistoric great sights. It also has a massive shoe shaped bill.
It is a solitary bird with a lifespan of about 50 or more years.
Interestingly, they form monogamous relationships during the mating season which happens between April and June.
The parent birds make their nest on the ground.
The female shoebill usually lays two eggs.
Life Description of Shoebill stork
The shoebill is a rare bird which can be seen in few destination of Africa. It’s a tall bird with a typical height range of 110 to 140 centimeter and its length from the tail can measure from 100 to 140 cent meter and wingspan ranges 230 to 260 cent meter.
Their weight ranges from 4 to 7 kilogram.
They usually range about 150-centimeter-tall and can weigh up to 14 pounds.
The male shoebill weighs on average of about 5.6 kilograms and is larger than a typical female of 4.9Kilogramm.
They have dark colored legs which are fairly long with a tarsus length of 21.7 to 25.5 centimeter.
Both parents participate in the incubation period which can take a month. The new chicks are catered or fed by the parent birds for months till they are old enough to forage for their own food.
There feet are exceptionally large with the middle toe ranging 16.8 to 18.5 centimeter in length that helps in its ability to stand on aquatic vegetation while hunting.
They have short necks which is thicker than other long legged wading birds like herons and cranes.
They are identifying by its unique features.
The plumage of adult shoebill is blue-grey with darker slaty grey flight feathers.
What do Shoebills feed on?
The shoebills are habitants of lake and swamps so they feed on food in the water. Their main diet is lungfish which can be supplemented by puddle fish, frogs, water snakes and occasional baby crocodile. All this is very possible because they have sharp edges of the wide bill.
Some few facts about Shoebills
Shoebill storks tend to be nocturnal species. Although they are primarily water bird species, they don’t have webbed feet but it’s very possible for them to stealthily stalk their prey in the water.
Mostly solidary birds have territories with tight protection.
They are silent birds but can perform bill clattering displays at their own nests.
They usually sluggish on the ground but quite graceful in the air and when attacking their prey, they have to pull back their wings and then approach their prey in away of demonstrating their strength.
Where one can encounter Shoebills in Uganda
Shoebills can be encountered in several safari destinations in Uganda such as; The Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park along the Lake Edward Flats, in Murchison Falls national park where the Nile connects with Lake Albert, Lake Mburo national park, Lake Kyoga, Ziwa Rhino Reserve, Mabamba wetlands close to Entebbe, Semuliki Wildlife reserve as well as Nabajuzi Swamp in Masaka.
Lastly, a visit made to one of the above mentioned destination for Shoebill encounter will leave you with quite magnificent life changing view and all places are worth a visit.