The Elusive – Ancient Appearing Shoebill Stork of Uganda

Posted by on June 15, 2020

The Prehistoric looking Shoebill Stork of Uganda

Best Places where to spot the elusive Shoebill Stork in Uganda 


Shoebill Stork of Uganda Uganda is the Best East African Country where you can see the Shoebill Stork while on a Safari. Places such as Mabamba Swamp on Lake Victoria, Lugogo Swamp in Ziwa Rhino Reserve, the lower Nile in Murchison Falls Park, and Lake Mburo. They are all places and parks where you can spot the most sought-after bird in East Africa – the Shoebill Stork.

The Shoebill Stork of Uganda seems surreal, eerily prehistoric, something out of Jurassic Park. The bird is over 4 feet tall, has yellow-green eyes, and a massive shoe-shaped bill giving an almost cartoonlike appearance. The early Arab Traders used to call the Shoebill Stork “Abu Maruk,” meaning father of the shoe. 

The Shoebill Storks feed on lungfish. They stand motionless for long periods each day, waiting for prey to come along, such as lungfish.

They also hunt young crocodiles and giant monitor lizards as a meal. 

Shoebill Storks are mostly silent. Only making noise when they clap their bills together rapidly to greet another bird or call out to their young.

You can see the Shoebill Storks in the Swamps of Uganda and along the Nile. Most likely, they will be standing, The Elusive - Ancient Appearing Shoebill Stork of Ugandaperched at the water’s edge for hours. They are waiting for that moment to plunge down and catch another lungfish.

Shoebill Storks are mostly silent, they only make noise when they clap their bills together in a rapid manner. This is done to greet another Shoebill or to call their young ones.

The Shoebill wings can stretch over 8 feet wide — and they can fly short distances despite being so large.

With their striking features and unwavering patience for food, they’re not impressed by these giants. They were a beloved species to the ancient Egyptians, even showing up in their artwork.

But over recent decades, these magnificent creatures have been in decline due to habitat destruction from oil exploration and the expansion of farms.

They are also at risk of being captured in the wild for the illegal bird trade.

Shoebills are highly sensitive birds, and past exports have involved high mortality during capture, transit, and captivity … Only two zoos have been known to produce chicks —two in 2008 and one in 2009. This means that captive populations are not self-sustained, and need to be replenished with wild birds if they are maintained.”

Residents living near shoebill habitats in Mambamba Swamp have noticed the birds are targets of the Wildlife trade. That led them to form volunteer groups to keep an eye out for suspected poachers and work with local law enforcement to report them.

They also bring visitors through the dense marshlands — and if they’re lucky, they’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of these iconic birds in the wild.

Uganda is known for its Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Scenery and Wildlife. Unbeknown to many, that it is also home to one of the most sought-after birds in Africa, the elusive Shoebill Stork. 

A most amazing bird with prehistoric looks – its height of up to 150 centimeters (5 feet) and weighs up to 14 pounds – a most amazing bird found in the pearl of Africa – Uganda.

This prehistoric-looking bird can live for 50 years – the shoebill storks are solitary creatures that form monogamous relationships during the mating season between April and June. They make a nest on the ground and usually lay two eggs. Both parents share incubation duties for a month before the chicks are hatched and have to be fed for several months before they can forage for food on their own.

The Shoebill Stork of Uganda, a swamp specialist, survives on a diet of mainly of lungfish supplemented by frogs, puddle fish, even baby crocodiles, and water snakes all because of the sharp edges on their wide bill. They tend to be nocturnal and do not have webbed feet, which gives them a stealth-like ability as they are on the hunt for lungfish.

When in flight, they have a wide wingspan, their heads and necks retracted, they seem sluggish on the ground but The Elusive - Ancient Appearing Shoebill Stork of Ugandaare graceful in the air. When attacking their prey, they pull back their wings and approach their prey in a way, demonstrating their strength. 

T here are about 1000 plus Shoebill Storks left in Uganda today. Their greatest danger is development. They are sometimes hunted by fishermen as they are seen as a bad omen if seen before going out on the lake. Tourism can play a great role in their preservation as it is the case with mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.

Uganda is a birding paradise. It was Sir Fredrick Jackson. A former Governor of Uganda and a keen ornithologist. He is the one who described Uganda as a “hidden Eden and a wonderland for birds.” The Pearl of Africa is the country that is best to see the Elusive – Ancient Appearing Shoebill Stork of Uganda.

There is no other area in all of Africa that can match a variety of bird species that Uganda offers. That includes the flying shoe, the Shoebill Stork, one of the most sought-after birds in the world. Uganda, known for gorillas, chimpanzees, tree-climbing lions, is also home to one of the most fascinating birds, the elusive shoebill stork…