Shoebill

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shoebill

 

(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.