Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's a Bird!

BGD (Beautiful God Daughter) and I visited the zoo on one of the last
days of truly nice weather ... not much heat and very little humidity.
Days like that are few and far between this time of year.
We got to the zoo when the gates opened at 9:30 AM.
Had lunch at Twiga in the African Forest.
Walked and walked and walked
(and I had been to the gym that morning).

We visited with this fellow.
Amazing, isn't he?!!!!

Shoebill at the Houston Zoo


The Shoebill is named for its clog-shaped bill, which is an adaptation for catching and holding the large, slippery lungfish, its favorite food. This big bird (standing about 3.8 feet tall) also eats turtles, fish and young crocodiles. 

They are entirely gray, with broad wings and long legs. The head is large in proportion to the body and the eyes are large.

The Shoebill is a solitary species, rarely found in groups. 
Other common names for Shoebills include Shoe-billed Stork, Whale-headed Stork, Bog Bird.Though most consider it as a stork, the Shoebill's antecedents are unclear, and no relatives are known. Shoebills have their own family, Balaenicipitidae. Although they share some characteristics of storks, they are more like the herons in many of their behaviors and physiological features, yet also share common characteristics with pelicans. The population of Shoebills is thought to number 5,000-8,000 but is difficult to estimate given the swampy/marshy habitat in the Sudan, Africa. 

The Houston Zoo is well known in zoo circles for its bird collection.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Wishing you well.


Carol at Serendipity said...

What an interesting bird. Glad you had a wonderful day.

I haven't been to a zoo in years and when I did go I never took pictures. What fun I would have now.

Have a great weekend.


Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

What a cool bird, he has the feathers of the great blue heron's we have here, so handsome, but the clog bill, quite something. xox Corrine

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I've never heard of a Shoebill before. An interesting bird, although not a handsome one.

Pondside said...

I'd love to see this bird in flight - or on the hunt. I remember seeing pelicans in Florida - what a thrill for a northerner!

Indrani said...

Very unique look, beautiful in its own way.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Fascinating! Thanks for the photos and info. I'd never before heard of this birds, much less seen one.

Happy weekend!

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

How can you not fall in love with a baby like that? So sweet.

My Critter blog this week is a photo of a laughing gull, AND I added a touching dog video -1.5 minutes long- of a dog that was blown away in a tornado only to CRAWL home 2 weeks later. It's a must see...the stamina and determination of animals.

Have a great weekend.

Here's my link to Camera Critters.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Very amazing!

Jane said...

Nice shot:)

Jidhu Jose said...

nice shot.
mine is here :

Jedediah said...

I love shoebills. They are rare in zoos, but I was lucky enough to have seen several in real life. I wouldn't want to meet them without a fence, though, that beak is not to be messed with.

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

Frankly, I think he looks like he's related to the Dodo bird. Oh my goodness, he is quite a sight! I could have used him last weekend when that enormous snapper was walking around!

Phil said...

A very interesting explanation about the Shoebill. It must be a very ancient species and I guess it looks a little like the Dodo must have looked. Let's hope the Shoebill doesn't go the same way.

Shannon W. said...

That is one interesting bird. Thank you for sharing.

Kay L. Davies said...

I hope it is a protected species. It's so ugly, it's cute!
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Snap, Looks like you really got your exercise. But it sounded like a wonderful day to go to the zoo. The Shoebill is a beautiful bird. Thanks for sharing.

Have a fabulous Memorial Day Weekend.

Janet said...

Thanks for another interesting and informative post. I'd never heard of this bird until today. The soft blue of the feathers is so I want to see one in person!

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shot of the bird.

Gary said...

Great shot of an interesting bird!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

eileeninmd said...

What a cool looking bird. I would love to see it in person in Africa. Great photo.

NatureFootstep said...

the shoebill looks so sad. :(

Great info. Thanks!

Caroline said...

I've never seen that bird before, thanks for sharing! :D

Barb said...

What a great photo, Snap. The shoebill looks like it's smiling shyly for you.

Natasha said...

I have never seen anything like it before! What an amazing creature. Thanks so much for teaching me something new!

Best wishes,

Dave said...

What an interesting bird.Its head looks so out of proportion to its body I would love to see it in action, just to see why it has evolved that way.
Great picture thanks for sharing.

One said...

This is a strange looking bird. Thanks for sharing.

Cezar and Léia said...

Wow this baby is so different and cute!
Very interesting post, thanks for sharing!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

What an interesting bird--it looks almost prehistoric!

We are well, thanks for asking. i have some catching up to do on friends' blogs--seems hard to balance everything the way I once did, but I'm learning. How are you?

Thinking of you this Memorial Day weekend.

Becca said...

The Shoebill looks like a stuffed animal. It is too cute!

SavannahGranny said...

What an awesome bird. We have a lot of waterfowl in Savannah but this one is very unique. Thanks for sharing. Ginger

eden said...

Wow, what a beatuiful creature!