Shoebill Stork Size, Height, Sound, Location, Flying, Wingspan

Whether it was a pet or a wild animal, we focused on all of them. So, today we’ll talk about the Shoebill Stork. This tall bird has a fantastic-looking bill. Aside from that, they have a lot of interesting characteristics. As a result, read this article to learn everything there is to know about these birds.

Shoebill Facts Overview

Biggest Shoebill Stork Next to Person
In This Image, the Biggest Shoebill Stork Next to the Person
Scientific NameBalaeniceps rex
Size 3-5 inches
Weight9-15 lbs
DietMainly fish, frogs, snakes, snails and rodents
PredatorsHumans and crocodiles
Conservation StatusVulnerable
Height3.5 – 4.5 ft (110 to 140 cm)   
LocationEast Africa – Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia
Wingspan8 Foot Wingspan
Lifespan35 years in wild, 50 years in captivity
SpeciesBalaeniceps rex
Average Clutch Size  2 – 3 Eggs
Main ThreatsHumans

A Brief Introduction…

  • Second Name: It is also known as Whalehead and whale-headed stork
  • Lifespan: They live about 36 years in the wild. 
  • They can also be incredibly adorable and “cartoon-like.” Due to their stunning pale complexion and blue eyes, they may not actually exist.
  • Shoebill storks, sometimes known as whale-headed storks, are found only in Africa’s east-central region.
  • The storks use plant material to build their nests. These Birds prefer to be near or in water.
  • They are found only in Africa’s east-central region.
  • According to accounts, they can sell for $10,000 to $20,000 in the United States, making them the most costly birds in the zoo trade.

Biggest Shoebill Stork 

  • The Shoebill Stork is a strong, large-bodied bird. Most of its plumage is a calming mixture of slate, dark grey, and blue-grey.
  • It features penetrating eyes that are yellowish or greyish-white and a small, hairy nuchal crest.
  • Sharp edges on its massive, splotchy bill aid in the quick decapitation of prey.
  • The wings of the shoebill are robust enough to let the bird take off almost vertically, making them well adapted for soaring.



  • The newly hatched shoebill stork is silvery-grey, while juveniles are a somewhat darker shade of grey than adults.
  • The plumage is a slaty blue-grey with a darker grey head. The primary is black-tipped, whereas the secondary is greenish.

Shoebill Stork Height & Size 

Shoebill Stork Height & Size
In This Image, Shoebill Stork Height & Size

Shoebill Stork Size,

  • frightening-looking birds that stand 110 to 140 cm tall.
  • Males possess longer bills and are larger than females.
  • You need to be aware of how large these birds are before you can reasonably question the crocodile diet.
  • Biggest Shoebill Stork Hight from 3-5 inches
  • The distance from the bill to the beak is a respectable 1.3 meters.


  • They have a little feathered crest on the back of their heads and have an eight-foot shoebill stork wingspan. Yellow eyes, grey feathers, white bellies, and a small feathered crest on the back of their heads.

Shoebill Stork Diet

  • Shoebill Stork, which inhabits eastern tropical Africa’s marshes, hunt for smaller prey.
  • Large fish like lungfish, eels, and catfish, as well as strange species like Nile monitor lizards, snakes, and infant crocodiles, are eaten. Crocodiles are eaten by this bird!


  • The storks are normally silent, although they will frequently engage in bill-clattering, which is a true stork habit.
  • Adults will commonly do this when meeting each other at the nest, but juvenile shoebills will often do it.

Shoebill Stork Sound

  • Shoebill Stork Sound by pressing its bill’s lower and upper jaws together, resulting in a loud hollow sound.
  • These are short bursts of sound that sound like machine guns or tribal drums banging. They make a sound akin to a human with hiccups when they ask for food.

Shoebill Stork Habitat

  • The storks can be found in freshwater swamps and thick marshes.
  • They are frequently found in floodplain settings with undisturbed papyrus and reedbeds. A bed of floating plants is required when Shoebill Storks are in a region with deep water.

Shoebill Stork Location 

In East-Central Africa, including southern Sudan (White Nile Sudan), Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia, they can be found in freshwater swamps, dense marshes, and places with papyrus, reed, and grass beds.

Interesting Insights from the Shoebill Stork

Interesting Insights from the Shoebill Stork
In This Image, Interesting Insights from the Shoebill Stork
  • The Shoebill is a solitary bird that prefers to feed 20 meters or more apart. Less than three nests are found per square kilometer while the shoebill is mating. Shoebills still value their own space and will feed at opposing ends of their area, even when partnered together during the breeding season.
  • Shoebills are mainly sedentary animals and can stand still for long periods of time. When it’s time to eat, their perseverance pays off, enabling them to ambush unaware prey who probably had no idea the motionless bird was lying nearby.

Shoebill Stork Next to Person

  • The storks are quite friendly to humans.
  • Researchers researching these birds were able to get within 6 feet of a nesting Shoebill Stork. They will not attack humans, but will simply stare them down.

Shoebill Stork Population & Conservation

  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, only 3,300 to 5,300 adult Shoebill Stork are left in the world, and their numbers are declining.

Shoebill Stork Facts

  • The first European to hear of the shoebill was Ferdinand Werne, a German diplomat and traveler.
  • Whalehead King is another name for them.
  • They wait for an unsuspecting fish to come into the water before catching its victim. The bird then “collapses” on its prey, expanding its wings and diving down bill-first to catch the fish off, guard. The fish is then killed in its mouth by grinding the sharp edges of its bill together.
  • They are known as silent creatures but they can make loud noise while courtship or also when they are greeting. 
  • Only one of the two eggs that the shoebill female always produces survives.

Reference Link

Shoebill Stork-FAQ

How Tall Is a Shoebill Stork?

Like most wading birds, the legs are long and slender, and the feet lack webs. Shoebill storks range in height from 3.5 to 5 feet (1.07 to 1.5 m), weigh 12.3 pounds (5.6 kg), and have wingspan averages of 7.7 feet (2.33 m).

Shoebill Stork, Where Do They Live?

The shoebill is incredibly fascinating to watch, standing taller than a mailbox and having an eight-foot wingspan! This large bird is unique to the swamps and wetlands of Central and East Africa and is known for its lesson-in-gray plumage.

What Does Shoebill Stork Eat?

They eat big fish like lungfish, eels, and catfish, and also crazy stuff like Nile monitor lizards, snakes, and baby crocodiles. This bird eats crocodiles! And they hunt like total bosses of the swamp.

Where Can I See a Shoebill Stork?

Shoebill Storks inhabit East Africa, in freshwater swamps and marshes of Uganda, Sudan, the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Botswana, and Tanzania.