Shoebill Stork

Balaeniceps rex
Shoebill Stork

Shoebill storks are never found in groups. Only if food is in short supply will they be seen foraging near each other. Even breeding pairs will forage at opposite sides of their territory. Shoebills are non-migratory, but will make small movements between nesting and feeding zones. For flight, they will soar on thermals above their territory.

They are silent for the most part but will “bill-clatter” to each other, usually as a greeting between pairs. Adults may also make “mooing” noises and chicks will make hiccupping noises to beg for food. To hunt, they will usually use shallow waters with tall vegetation for camouflage. They will either stand and wait to ambush prey, or they will walk slowly to spot prey items.

Fun Facts:

  • Shoebills participate in a behavior called “egg-watering,” where a parent will get a bill full of water or wet grass, pour it over the nest, and roll the eggs around it to keep them cool.
  • Shoebills are known for standing motionless for long periods of time waiting on prey, and will even eat baby crocodiles.
  • Shoebills are often found in areas where the water is poorly oxygenated because the fish will have to surface for air more, ultimately making hunting easier.
  • Despite being called ‘storks’, Shoebills are more closely related to pelicans and Hamerkops than to other storks. The stork part of their name is based on their similar appearance to storks, rather than their genetic lineage.

Conservation Threats:


Natural Habitat

Freshwater swamps, dense marshlands, and flood plains


East Africa


Height: 3.5-5 ft

Weight: 12 lbs

Wingspan: 7.7 ft

*Males tend to be slightly taller with longer bills


35 years


The female lays 1-3 eggs per clutch and incubation takes about 30 days.

Diet Details

Mainly large fish like lungfish (favorite), eels, and catfish. They will also feed on water snakes, frogs, lizards, turtles, mollusks, and even carrion.

Job Fair



Please review our booking tips before continuing

1. Please make one field trip per reservation order. Complete one and start a new one if you have multiple days you are booking.

2. Headcount can be approximate. Please include children and adults in your headcount. Please do not include pass holders in your headcount for a ticket.

3. On the ticket page, choose the correct grade level (to the left of your screen) to receive the correct chaperone ratio.

4. On the ticket page, when on the calendar section, the number of tickets available will appear in the top right corner for each particular day. Tickets available include children and adults. If you have more people than tickets available, please choose another day.

5. Anyone that is ordering lunch, even pass holders and adults that receive free chaperone tickets, do need to pay for a lunch IF they are ordering one. Free chaperone tickets and pass holders are for admission only.

Boxed lunch orders must be received 5 business days prior to your field trip arrival. Groups will be responsible for all boxed lunches that were confirmed at that time.

6. Payment does not need to be paid at the time of registration. Choose the pay upon arrival option if you would like one person to pay for your entire trip on the day of your visit.

7. The prices of adult and children’s tickets are different.

8. You will receive a confirmation number and confirmation letter via email when your trip is confirmed. If you do not, please contact right away.

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Christmas in the Wild Reservation Changes

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