SHOEBILL

Largely silent and solitary, like a steely-blue statue snagged in dense stands of papyrus, the shoebill shares similarities with herons, hammerkops, storks and pelicans – but it belongs to none of these groups. It is a loner, both in habit and taxonomy. Imagine a dodo on stilts. Then add some serious attitude. That enormous clog-shaped bill is no party piece – it’s a lethal weapon more than capable of wrenching lungfish from their burrows or striking out at snakes, turtles, young crocodiles and even lechwe fawns.

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Wildlife Wishlist was founded by zoologist, conservationist and award-winning travel writer and photographer William Gray. Sharing his passion for wildlife and recommendations for responsible travel, Will has spent around 30 years tracking down the world's best wildlife holiday experiences.

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