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Balaenicipitidae - Shoebill

shoebillThere is only one bird in this family. The shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) is a wading bird found in the papyrus swamps of the White Nile River in east central Africa from Sudan to Zambia.

It has a large, hooked, shoe-shaped bill; long, strong legs; and gray feathers. It is 3½-4½ feet in length.

The shoebill probes in the mud with its bill to locate prey like frogs, small crocodiles, and fish. When it is in flight, it tucks its neck back like herons do. The shoebill is also known as the whale-headed stork.

The shoebill gets its name from its huge shoe-shaped bill.

World Status Key
Least ConcernLeast Concern Near ThreatenedNear Threatened VulnerableVulnerable EndangeredEndangered Critically EndangeredCritically Endangered extinct in the wildExtinct in Wild extinctExtinct Not Enough DataNot Enough Data
Status and range is taken from ICUN Redlist.

U.S. Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Endangered in US Endangered in US Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife. Click on U.S. status icon to go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife species profile.
  New Hampshire Status Key
Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Breeds in NH Breeds in NH (birds)
Status taken from NH Fish and Game

Location Key
Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH More Info Click for More Info picture Click for Image

New Hampshire Species


 North/Central American Species

None   None

Species Around the World

Shoebill - Balaeniceps rex Vulnerable Africa image More Info

Additional Information

Resource Key
profile Profile Photos Photos Video Video Audio Audio

Shoebill - Balaeniceps rex profile Photos Video Vulnerable Africa
The shoebill feeds on fish, frogs, small mammals, and reptiles.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Shoebill - Balaeniceps rex Photos Video Vulnerable Africa
The shoebill is 3.5 to 4.5 feet tall..
Source: Internet Bird Collection Intended Audience: General Reading Level: N/A

Shoebill - Balaeniceps rex profile Vulnerable Africa
There are around 5,000-8,000 shoebills in the wild.
Source: BirdLife International Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section:No