The Shoebill. Native to large swamps from Sudan to Zambia in tropical east Africa.This large stork-like bird gets its name because of the shape of its beak. Even though it was already known to ancient Egyptians and Arabs, the bird was only classified in 19th century.
The shoebill stork has an impressive bill that resembles a Dutch wooden shoe. Although related to storks, the shoebill’s unusual bill and other characteristics place it in a family all its own. It is often compared to a statue, as the bird stands still for long periods of time in marshes, waiting for a fishy meal to surface. This “freeze-and-seize strategy ensures that the stork lands its prey. (photos: Anita Ross)