So far, the most terrifying-unrealistic-bird to remain in our memories happens to be the Hippogriff. Potterheads may know what we’re talking about. Some thought it was unusual and weird at first but ended up liking it because of its ability to love and care. Sadly, they don’t exist in real life. But what exists in real life lives far away in the swamps of Eastern Tropical Africa. So you don’t have to worry or be afraid, even if we name it the ‘Most Terrifying Bird to Exist’. Let’s see what you can know about this Bird and you might actually end up liking it.
We’re talking about, none other than, Shoebills. This eerie-looking bird is one of the weirdest birds to exist on the face of Earth. Although there are and might be even more unusual or spooky animals out there right now this will do the job right.
Not your regular bird ehh?
I still have a hard time with this being a real bird & not something from 'A muppets fucking nightmare festival' pic.twitter.com/6sHVgvEnjK— Jon (@giftedrascal) June 8, 2020
Just as they say, looks don’t matter. It is quite true that they don’t. This bird is a living example of the saying. Shoebills may look angry or annoyed by face but it has nothing to do with how fascinating they are. So for starters, if you think they resemble the dinosaurs. We’re happy to inform you, YOU ARE RIGHT! They do and that is because they share the same lineage as that of dinosaurs. You’d be surprised to know that their scientific name actually shows a direct link to dinosaurs— Balaeniceps rex. Surprising now, isn’t it?
So let’s just break down the physical features of this bird along with some facts that truly makes these birds one of a kind. These birds can grow up to 3.5 to 5 feet tall and weigh about 11 to 12 pounds to the most. Their worth mentioning feet are unusually long and thin that are perfect for swampy areas. Their beak, that happens to be a foot-long, helps them pounce onto its prey that is larger in size like snakes, lungfish, eel, and as large as Nile monitor lizards.
There’s a lot more than just size and features of this specific bird because what we’re about to tell you are some of the bewildering facts about these birds that would make you think twice, guaranteed!
Below is a Harpy Bird, that people once thought was the only terrifying bird. But the Shoebill has been giving them nightmares too…
This clip shows how a Shoebill silently wanders around and bickers towards the end.
It seems to be rather easier for photographers to take pictures of Shoebills. That is right indeed. This is because these birds can stay still for hours and hours without moving an inch with those exceptionally big eyes staring into the void (or even your soul).
Another astonishing fact is that shoebills have their own way of lowering their body temperature. This process is called Urohidrosis, which is common among storks and vultures that require them to excrete on their legs as a way of the cooling mechanism. Strange but fascinating isn’t it?
Their catching their prey off guard behaviour has been a hot topic on social media. This excruciating yet magnificent bird flies off to its nearest branch after ambushing on its prey, as Milano quotes, “Nope. Not ok with this.”
Nope. Not ok with this. pic.twitter.com/aN6uHi4Kmt— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) June 10, 2019
…And would you look at what that beak can do? Just casually putting a duck out of their way…
Furthermore, Jon adds to the discussion that “They have 2 young, they eat the weakest one. They also eat baby crocodiles and crap on their own legs to keep cool. Also, they push their spines out of their throat to cool down.” Sounds pretty apt to us, not gonna lie.
They have 2 young, they eat the weakest one. They also eat baby crocodiles and crap on their own legs to keep cool. Also, they push their spines out of their throat to cool down— Jon (@giftedrascal) June 9, 2020
People all over Twitter have been in a fix comparing the Shoebill with other peculiar creatures that have made it to the surface of the internet. Look for yourself and decide what terrifies you the most:
The first is a Harpy Eagle that pretty much looks upset about something the man hasn’t even done yet.
Next is the exotic looking dinosaur descendant, the Cassowary- A ‘menace’ in disguise. Literally.
As much as we find them captivating, Shoebills are at a high risk of extinction due to various reasons like the destruction of the swamps they live in, pollution, or fires etc. There is no doubt that these birds are spine-chilling at first to look at, but they are unique and beautiful in their own ways and should be protected at all costs.