Ugandan ShoeBill is very large bird. It is almost 5 feet tall, 4 feet long, reaching 1.5 pounds in weight. Body of Ugandan ShoeBill is covered with bluish-grey plumage. Ugandan ShoeBill has strong neck, long legs and broad wings. The most prominent feature on the Ugandan ShoeBill’s body is its beak. It is large and shaped like a shoe, which is the reason why the bird is named “Ugandan ShoeBill”. The beak of a Uganda Ugandan ShoeBill is 9 inches long and 4 inches wide. It ends with a nail-like hook, which is used for killing of the prey.
Ugandan ShoeBill feeds during the night. It is an ambush predator, which can stay silent for very long period of time while waiting for the prey to appear. Because of that, it is often called “statue-like” bird. Ugandan ShoeBill eats different types of fish, amphibians, lizards, snakes, rats and even baby crocodiles. When Ugandan ShoeBill detects the prey, it uses incredible speed, accuracy and power to catch it. Before swallowing, Ugandan ShoeBill with cut the prey in half with its sharp bill.
Ugandan ShoeBill is solitary animal that gathers only for mating and taking care of the young. Ugandan ShoeBill is “quiet” most of the time, but it can produce sound that is used for communication. Adult birds usually produce sounds by clapping the bills during nesting season. Young birds can produce hiccup-like sound when they are hungry.
Mating season is usually associated with onset of dry season, to prevent flooding of the nests. Nests are built amid swamp grasses. Female lays one to three eggs. They will hatch after 30 days-long incubation. Young birds are brown at birth, and they are not able to stand on their feet until the age of two and a half months. They are dependent on the food provided by parents even when they start hunting on their own, at age of three and a half months.
Unlike storks, pelicans, and herons, Ugandan ShoeBill does not nest in colonies. Only three nests can be found per one square kilometer. Ugandan ShoeBill becomes sexually mature at age of three to four years. Ugandan ShoeBill can survive more than 35 years in the wild.