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Sharp-shinned Hawk

About the Shoebill

Also known as: Whalehead, Shoebill Stork, Bog Bird, Bogbird, Shoe-billed Stork, Whale-headed Stork

The Shoebill is a large stork-like bird related to pelicans, boobies and frigatebirds. They live in parts of eastern Africa, with most individuals living in the Sudan. Their conservation status is considered vulnerable, mainly due to habitat loss.

Shoebills have a mostly grey plumage and are named for their huge shoe-shaped bills. They prefer swampy habitats. Shoebills feed mainly on small aquatic animals like fish and frogs. They will also take small mammals.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 19 November 2011
Scientific Name Balaeniceps rex
  • Pelecaniformes
  • Balaenicipitidae
  • Balaeniceps
  • B. rex
Birdorable Family Waterbirds
Conservation Status Vulnerable
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 28 January 2015)
Range North Africa East Africa


From IUCN Red List:
The Shoebill is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This rare and localised species is listed as Vulnerable because it is estimated to have a single small population within a broad Extent of Occurrence. The population is undergoing a continuing decline owing to hunting, nesting disturbance and the modification and burning of its habitat.

International Names

  • člunozobec africký (Czech)
  • Træskonæb (Danish)
  • Schoenbekooievaar (Dutch)
  • kenkänokka (Finnish)
  • Bec-en-sabot du Nil (French)
  • Schuhschnabel (German)
  • Becco a scarpa (Italian)
  • ハシビロコウ (hashibirokou) (Japanese)
  • Treskonebb (Norwegian)
  • trzewikodziób (Polish)
  • Китоглав (Russian)
  • Picozapato (Spanish)
  • Träskonäbb (Swedish)

Related articles & downloads

Bonanza Bird #2: Shoebill

Bonanza Bird #2: Shoebill

For 19 days we're adding a new Birdorable bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza 2011. We're counting up to revealing our 350th species! Today's bird is the Shoebill. Shoebill stork ... more
Shoebill Coloring Page

Shoebill Coloring Page

The Shoebill is a large stork-like bird from Africa that is named for its large shoe-shaped bill. The bird is mostly greyish-blue in color, with a light orange bill and grey feet. ... more