Shoebill Series #2

I ‘m not wierd, I ‘m a limited edition

– Anonymous

No other bird has fascinated me as the Mr Bill (Shoe-bill Stork).

Pre-historic, unique, quirky, confident, bossy, focused, ruler of the Papyrus swamps, epitome of patience and doggedness, a survivor – a rarity of the evolution.

I keep going back to Mabamba Swamps – nearest habitat of this unique gem near mine. So, here are few more pictures of this champion. (For the uninitiated, please first visit ‘Meeting Mr Bill’ ).

The short video clip below will also give you a fair idea of the habitat and the circumstances you may find Mr Bill in. The clip has been created by a Ugandan friend, who has been helpful in organizing these trips to Mabamba Swamps.

A glimpse of behind the scenes at Mabamba Swamps. Credits – Rema #Entebbe360
Tall, Dark and Handsome dude of Mabamba – A Young Shoebill (soft fur around the neck a telltale)
Oh ! you are here.. Welcome to Mabamba, here is a flower for you …..
Pleasantries exchanged, back to business. Hunting with singular focus and patience.
Was it cutting the glare on the water or just stretching its muscles ? May be next time, I will talk to it !
A lucky peek into that unique bill. Is that the tongue or a watermelon slice? You can see the throat too, if you zoom in.
Another side profile. Note that the patterns / marks / colouration of the bill helps in identifying individual birds. I have seen three different individuals till now ! See the one below.
I call this one as “Three Notches”. Three black bars visible on its lower beak. Also notice the lighter colour of the lower beak. So much so for a small little Shoebill survey.
A small hop to shift to a better fishing spot.
While I was trying to get a stable and nicely composed shot, I saw the bird to adapt a strange posture.
The guide exclaimed that an African Fish Eagle was overhead and it was trying to fend it off.
See the wide spread wings to appear as big as possible and the giant open bill.
The Fish Eagle quickly and wisely changed its mind
By the way, that’s an African Fish Eagle (a juvenile) – A very energetic and powerful bird of prey.
Same fellow, who was eyeing Mr Bill for Breakfast. Found it few hundred meters away on this tree.
One thing leads to another. Just in case you are wondering – this is how an adult / mature African Fish Eagle look like.
The shoebill busted another of my assumption. I used to think that this weird bird must be a clumsy flyer. On the contrary, it flies gracefully and appears as majestic in the air as it does standing in the water.

A glimpse of some other birds which co-habit the Papyrus swamps with Mr Bill.

Hope you enjoyed the experience too.
Happy Birding !!

Jo Written by:


  1. Vinit Bajpai

    These are the most beautiful shots of the elusive Shoebill Stork . especially the photographs where the Shoebill makes an aggressive stance to fend off the Osprey. Never Seen Before. Wishing You All The Luck With Shoebills in days to come.

    • 11/02/2021

      Dear leopard whisperer, Wish to take you to Mabamba some day. Thank you for the good wishes.

  2. 11/02/2021

    Thank you so much for introducing Mr. Bill to me. You make birding enjoyable and adventurous. . The photographs are amazing shots …. a complete work of art and an update of our rare species.

    • 11/02/2021

      Dear Gauri,
      Glad you like the posts – that adds to motivation to compile them.
      Hope that you visit Mabamba swamps, someday.
      Best wishes.

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