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(Balaeniceps rex), also whale-headed stork, a bird of the order Ciconiiformes. It is about 1 m tall and has a wing-spread of about 250 cm. The plumage is gray; the remiges and rectrices are black.
The shoebill is distributed in Africa (in the upper reaches of the Congo and on the White Nile); it is rare everywhere else. It flies well and can soar; while in flight it draws in its neck like the heron. The bird nests in marshes, building its nest from stems of aquatic and shore plants atop a tussock. One or two white eggs are laid. The shoebill feeds on fish, frogs, and small turtles. Its massive bill is evidently used to extract mudfish.