Nov 3, 2009

Shoe Bills

The shoebill is one of my favorite birds, though I've never seen one in person. They get very large, upwards of 115-150 cm (45-64 in) tall, with a wingspan of 230-260 cm (91-125 in).

I imagine that bill can do some damage, given that it's used to scoop up and devour small crocodiles. They're even reported to feed on young calves. They were known to ancient Arabs, who called them abu markub, meaning father with a shoe. They've even been spotted in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

That shoe bill, which is indeed the size of an adult human shoe, is not only used in devastating attacks, but can be filled with water, which the mother uses to dowse her young in the nest. I'm not sure why she'd do that. But then, if I could fill my mouth with a couple of pints of water, I'd probably dowse all sorts of people--the kids, my wife, coworkers, passersby... I wouldn't have many friends.

17 comments:

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

It actually looks like something out of Alice in Wonderland

Betsy Hammer said...

That bird is the raddest thing I've ever seen. Never thought I'd be introduced to my new favorite animal HERE.

Anonymous said...

"I wouldn't have many friends."

as opposed to now, that you have piles of them?


:)

Ellen said...

I love this bird. It looks like something right out of Jurassic Park!

KittyChymira said...

That is sooooo not a bird. That is so obviously a velociraptor dressed as a bird for Halloween. Geez, look at those eyes. That thing has murder on it's mind.

Anonymous said...

I call this the Christopher Lambert bird:
http://cheezburger.com/View.aspx?aid=2830529792

Melanie S said...

When you look at pics of this bird from the side, it doesn't look nearly as menacing.

Head on though, whoa. Totally agree with KittyChymira, it's a disguised velociraptor. I love it!

LisaL said...

I agree with the others. Looks like it's straight out of prehistoric, dinosaur walkin times. What a cool, menacing bird.

Rachel said...

@ Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist:

No, it looks like something out of Edward Gorey--specifically, the Osbick Bird:

For reference: http://www.edwardgoreyhouse.org/images/osbick.gif

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shovel king said...

i have seen that bird in real life... or actually in zoo.. ;u; and i have a picture of that bird in my newest blog uptate.. it's so cute <3

Wild Cayuse Creek said...

What a fun, interesting site. Congrats on being a Blog of Note. This has been a great find for a Friday morning.

petchildo said...

I think he is cute! :D

One.Twenty.Fifty.Two said...

Oh my God! Does that really exist?

Ms Amanda said...

OH MY FLIPPING MONKEY'S. Now I have a new bird to fear. I thought that emu's were bad enough!
I'm nauseous...

Archivegirl said...

I have become fascinated with these strange big birds... I don't know if you saw this in the metro a couple of weeks ago. It is a small article about the shoebill

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Duck_gets_pick-me-up_from_huge_shoebill_bird&in_article_id=762622&in_page_id=34

Heidi said...

I was so enamored by these birds, I made a costume of one:

http://db.fursuit.org/img/suits/1234/Clint6643.jpg

http://db.fursuit.org/img/suits/1234/Clint6644.jpg

If that's not scary, I don't know what is.