Giant African bird as big as a human and can eat crocodiles

The shoebill is a pre-historic looking bird that can grow up to five foot tall and has a one foot long beak. It is an intimidating ambush predator that eats fish and reptiles

Meet the human-sized African bird that devours baby crocodiles and eliminates its siblings. This remarkable creature is one of the most peculiar birds on our planet.

Shoebills, reaching up to five feet in height, are formidable ambush predators. They employ a hunting strategy of standing motionless in swamps before suddenly lunging forward to engulf their prey whole with their massive bills.

These birds are typically found in the marshes and swamps of East Africa, feasting on fish and reptiles. The shoebill also boasts the third largest bird beak in the world, measuring a foot long.

This prehistoric-looking and intimidating bird can grow up to five feet, or 1.5 meters, tall. According to a study published in the Journal of African Ornithology in 2015, catfish are its most common prey, constituting approximately 71 per cent of its meals.

However, the shoebill doesn’t shy away from gorging on eels, snakes, and even baby crocodiles. These birds are typically solitary creatures, but breeding pairs are monogamous and lay nearly three eggs in a clutch.

Due to sibling rivalry, only one usually survives into adulthood. This is typically the larger firstborn, which either out-competes its siblings for food or kills them.

The second or third chicks are merely backups in case the first one doesn’t survive. This brutal behaviour was captured in a clip from David Attenborough’s BBC series ‘Africa’, which showed the older chick attacking its younger sibling.

The mother returns to the nest, but the chick shows no concern for its smaller sibling. Despite being commonly referred to as a stork, the shoebill is the sole member of the Balaeniceps genus and the wider family Balaenicipitidae, with its closest living relatives being pelicans.


    Its ancestors formed the Pelecaniformes order between 145 to 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. The large-beaked bird is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List, with only 5,000 to 8,000 birds remaining.

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