In the animal kingdom, after fish, birds are the second most abundant vertebrates. Birds are very common, there are a lot of sparrows, crows and magpies are in the human cities, and sometimes you can see falcons eating meat.
It seems that every country can find some bird they are proud of: the Kea in New Zealand, the ibis in China, and the bald eagle in the United States.
And if you want to choose unique birds from Africa, some people will immediately think of ostriches with the ability to run fast. In fact, in the swamps of East Africa there is a very unique and cute bird, the Shoebill stork, also known as the shoebill stork.
Many people when they see the Shoebill for the first time will think this bird is too ugly, but if you look long enough, you will probably realize that this bird is not only ugly, but also possesses an extremely dull appearance: it has a shaggy coat with “hair” growing on its head and a very ugly face with a huge beak.
Among birds, the shoebill is a relatively large species, adults can reach a height of about 1.6 meters. Despite possessing a relatively large body, their legs are quite slender, creating a confusing imbalance, but the wings of this species are very wide and powerful, they can even fly. vertical like a helicopter.
Adult shoebills are usually pale white and usually stand motionless in the water for an hour or two. This is their unique feeding screen: foraging in the “open mouth waiting for figs” style.
In addition, the shoebill is also the “star” in many zoos, it often bows to greet tourists, sometimes plucking its own feathers to give to tourists when they are happy.
This species often leans its huge beak against its chest, letting the chest bear some of the weight of the beak and waiting for prey to appear. Because of their tenacity and unique appearance, the Shoebill is considered the most iconic animal in the East African swamps.
Currently, due to many reasons, the Shoebill stork population has plummeted, there are only about 5,300 wild Shoebill storks in the world, and all of them live in the dense aquatic swamps of central East Africa. Because of their quirky temperament and shy personality, shoehorn storks often live in seclusion from the rest of the world, and are hard to find even by locals.
Compared to living in groups, shoebills prefer to live alone, they are typical nocturnal animals, during the day they often hide in reeds and sleep, but at night come out to look for food. , its flying posture over the swamp is very similar to that of a pelican, so many people often mistake it for a pelican.
The Shoebill is very unique, it is the only creature of the family Stobiidae and genus Shoebill, its appearance cannot be described as unsightly: it has a huge beak 25 cm long and 12 cm wide on the face, the beak has shaped like the head of a sperm whale.
Shoebill stork’s beak edge is razor sharp, there are protrusions like hooks on the beak, this hunting weapon can even kill immature crocodiles, the thick skin of crocodiles can’t stop it. Prevent the attack of the Shoebill stork.
But when it stands motionless in the water, it retains its image with its huge beak, yellow-black eyes and a strange “smile” in the front.
Although the Shoebill’s main food is a variety of fish, its feeding habits are actually very diverse. Crocodiles, fish, lizards, snakes and turtles are all on its menu, and even newborn mammals like antelope can be eaten by them if given the chance.
Shoebill’s nests are usually built on land near marshes, they are made up of branches and leaves, the overall diameter can reach about two meters, the female lays two eggs at a time during the breeding season, after Then both the male and the female will alternately incubate the eggs and the young can emerge from the shell after a month and a half.
Under normal circumstances, the size of the two young birds will be markedly different and they do not get along, the larger one will peck the smaller one until it bruises all over its body, even kicking it out of the nest. . Meanwhile, when the parent birds come back from looking for food, they will often give healthier and bigger babies to eat more.
When the weather is hot, they will use their wide wings to shield their stronger chicks from the harsh sun, sometimes they will use their huge beaks to hydrate and cool the larger chicks. , but younger chicks are not treated like this, they are often abandoned by their parents, sometimes starved or directly exposed to the sun to death.
Although this method may seem cruel, it is actually an optimal survival strategy and it is also very popular among animals that, in times of insufficient food, can guarantee at least one young. healthy will survive.
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