A shoebill is a stork-like bird that is found mainly in swampy regions. It is named amongst the most endangered species of birds that can be found in very few places in Africa. They also closely resemble the pelicans. The total estimated population of shoebills that can be found in Africa is documented to be between 6,000 to 7,500, with the biggest population believed to come from Southern Sudan and Zambia.
Shoebills are very much friendly to humans and also have a way of communicating with humans. Some of the signs used by humans to communicate to the shoebills include bowing down and shaking one’s head for them to be friendly to you.
Shoebills do not necessarily have a way in which they communicate back to humans. They just stare back and show somebody’s movements showing they are very docile. They also respond by clattering their beaks. In the case of human disturbance, the shoebills leave their nests and vacate places far from human settlements.
Why Do Shoebills Stare?
Shoebills are one of the most interesting animals when spending time watching them. As mentioned earlier, they are very friendly to humans but when disturbed they move away. Many people regard their stare as a “death” stare.
It is believed that shoebills stare as a way of getting information, and do this while standing still for some time before making any movements. Their stares can go up to several hours without making any movements and then later conclude by clattering their beaks for some time.
In some places in Africa, some people take the shoebill as a bad omen and have their myths and misconceptions about the shoebill’s stare. This has however been disregarded over time as shoebills can be the most peaceful and respectful endangered species of animals in the entire world.
What Does It Mean When A Shoebill Bows?
A shoebill bows in an attempt to attract friendship and make new mates. It is a way in which it communicates a greeting to someone. When people visit a shoebill, they are supposed to bow and shake their heads to show they are of no harm to the shoebill. In response, the shoebill bows back and also shakes its head then makes a clattering sound.
Upon bowing to the shoebill, it allows one to touch it. In the case where any visitor does not bow to the shoebill, it does not give them a chance to touch it and therefore it moves away from them for its safety. This makes it one of the most interesting facts about Shoebill storks.
Tip: A shoebill is one of the most social animals when you show some respect towards it. It can, however, be one of the dangerous animals when it senses danger, therefore this explains the need to bow before it before you can touch it. When bowing, you are supposed to keep a safe distance between you and the shoebill. It has a bill that can be very dangerous when it plans to attack. The shoebill’s bill has several other functions including holding prey such as fish, eels, and snakes.
Are Shoebill Storks Aggressive?
Shoebill storks are typically not aggressive creatures. They do not harm humans, but instead rather stay still and stare motionless. They can however, get very defensive when threatened and this may be perceived as aggressive behavior.
Amongst the known species of birds, they may be one of the most courageous as they can face even big animals such as crocodiles. The part where they can be the most dangerous is when they attack as a group. This makes their storks more aggressive and boosts their ability to attack the enemy and kill them immediately.
For your information: Some of the time, however, the storks may not make it to the end of a fight. At times the enemy might defeat and kill them. When it comes to the weak animals, their storks are undefeated and therefore they easily fight and outwit their weak enemies.
What Do Shoebills Eat?
There is a variety of prey that the shoebills feed on. The main food for the shoebills is fish. The common types of fish that the shoebills mostly feed on include tilapia, catfish, lungfish, and also bichirs.
The shoebills do not only eat fish but also other smaller types of prey. These include lizards, snails, frogs, small turtles, and water snakes. The biggest type of prey that these types of birds feed on is baby crocodiles. They also feed on rodents, such as hamsters, beavers, and rats. This explains why they are mostly found in the swampy regions because there is plenty of prey they can feed on.
Do Shoebills Eat Other Birds?
Shoebills do eat other birds, but smaller species of birds. However, this happens under very rare circumstances as their main type of food is fish, specifically the lungfish which is regarded as their favorite. Shoebills have a greater ability to hunt down bigger prey as compared to the other existing species of birds.
For your information: There exist only two main kinds of shoebill predators. These are humans and crocodiles.
Do Shoebills Eat Alligators?
Alligators are one of the species of animals that belong to the crocodile family. Shoebills hunt and eat alligators. This is made possible by the presence of their bill that can catch a large piece of prey.
They can encounter prey even bigger than them, especially when they do not have enough prey to feed on. They, therefore, give themselves a fighting spirit for them to survive and outrun their hunger. As a general rule, shoebills do not delay fighting any kind of animal when they are willing to take that animal down for them to have their meal.
Additional information: Shoebills has many interesting facts. They have a dinosaur-like appearance and are one of the slowest types of birds when it comes to flying. This is because they have slow flapping of their wings when flying.
They are also ranked among the top birds with the longest beaks in the world, with the ability to catch big prey. Shoebills can also stand without moving for a long period, especially when planning to attack their prey, are one of the most patient animals and always remain silent unless they are greeting.