Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Pelecaniformes > Balaenicipitidae > Balaeniceps > Balaeniceps rex

Balaeniceps rex (Shoebill)

Wikipedia Abstract

The shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) also known as whalehead or shoe-billed stork, is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill. Although it has a somewhat stork-like overall form and has previously been classified in the order Ciconiiformes, its true affiliations with other living birds is ambiguous. Some authorities now reclassify it with the Pelecaniformes. The adult is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia.
View Wikipedia Record: Balaeniceps rex

EDGE Analysis

This large waterbird is unmistakable due to its unique ‘shoe-shaped’ bill which gives it an almost prehistoric appearance. Found in nine countries across Africa the species has a large range, but exists in small localised populations concentrated around swamps and wetlands. Individuals are highly solitary, with even the male and female in a breeding pair preferring to occupy different ends of their shared territory. The Shoebill is undergoing a continuing decline owing to the effects of habitat destruction and degradation, nest disturbance, hunting, and capture for the live bird trade.
Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 51.3351
EDGE Score: 5.34396
View EDGE Record: Balaeniceps rex


Adult Weight [1]  13.04 lbs (5.915 kg)
Female Weight [1]  11.31 lbs (5.13 kg)
Male Weight [1]  14.771 lbs (6.70 kg)
Weight Dimorphism [1]  30.6 %
Diet [2]  Carnivore (Vertebrates), Piscivore
Diet - Ectothermic [2]  20 %
Diet - Endothermic [2]  10 %
Diet - Fish [2]  70 %
Forages - Water Surface [2]  100 %
Clutch Size [4]  2
Clutches / Year [1]  1
Fledging [1]  3 months 15 days
Incubation [3]  30 days
Maximum Longevity [5]  36 years
Snout to Vent Length [1]  3.936 feet (120 cm)
Female Maturity [1]  2 years 12 months


Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Queen Elizabeth National Park II 522052 Uganda

Important Bird Areas

Biodiversity Hotspots

Name Location Endemic Species Website
Eastern Afromontane Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Zimbabwe No

Prey / Diet

Polypterus senegalus (Cuvier's bichir)[3]
Protopterus aethiopicus (marbled lungfish)[3]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Range Map


External References



Attributes / relations provided by
1Nathan P. Myhrvold, Elita Baldridge, Benjamin Chan, Dhileep Sivam, Daniel L. Freeman, and S. K. Morgan Ernest. 2015. An amniote life-history database to perform comparative analyses with birds, mammals, and reptiles. Ecology 96:3109
2Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
3del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
4Jetz W, Sekercioglu CH, Böhning-Gaese K (2008) The Worldwide Variation in Avian Clutch Size across Species and Space PLoS Biol 6(12): e303. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060303
5de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06 WWF WildFINDER
Biodiversity Hotspots provided by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License