Shoebill Stork
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πŸ“Έ by @alexbraczkowski

The first time I saw a photo of one of these I thought it was a muppet or something drawn up from someone’s imagination.

Wrong.

They’re real, and they’re spectacular!

The go by a handful of names: the shoebill murder bird, whalehead, the scariest bird you’ll never want to encounter, the father of the slipper (my favorite!)
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They’re statuesque in appearance and behavior, able to stand perfectly still for hours while hunting.

They are ruthless in the way they hunt and they hunt everything and anything they can fit into their enormous beaks, including juvenile crocodiles and eels.

They use their beaks like a guillotine, once they’ve trapped their prey in their mouth they’ll open up slightly to let it poke its head out. That’s when it snaps its beak shut and removes the head before swallowing the rest.

Sadly, they’re also endangered, which sucks because they are truly awesome and it’s a shame they might not be around for future generations to experience.