Man får lyst til at gå hen og dokke den på næbbet med pegefingeren ... bare for at høre hvordan det lyder. :-)
Når man har set den nakke en malle på en meter mister man lysten til det...
Stevenson (East Africa guide 2002) anfører, at næbbet er 'mottled' dvs fx marmoreret, hvilket jo er højst
ualmindeligt blandt fuglenæb.
Men det fremgår tydeligt af Arnolds glimrende nærportræt, sågar på pink baggrund!
Nu hvor Træskonæb ikke længere er en Stork, men regnes under Pelikanfugle (Danske Navne, 2008), kan det bagklogt
¤ Den prydes af en studs Pelikanagtig nakketop, og har en tydelig næbkrog, som fx Brown Pelican - ikke Storke.
¤ Fisker med et Bredt næbredskab ligesom Great White Pelican
- som belyst på Paul Patricks foto 14. feb. '13,
vs. Storkenes smalle.
¤ Ligesom afr. Pelikaner kredser den u.tiden i høje luftlag.
Hatten a' for Arnolds version af 'Skoens Fader', Abu Markub (Bengt Berg 1926).
Abu Markub (arabic, one with a shoe) is indeed its own and has long been a systematic challenge.
It seems to be very opportunistic when hunting; snakes, various rodents and even a Lechwe calf (Kobus lechwe, antelope) is on the list (though unconfirmed) but mainly prey on fish which it snaps incredibly fast, not unlike herons/egrets.
There seems to be various views on this bird among fishermen in Africa; it is apparently hunted in some places and according to Important bird areas in Uganda (Byaruhanga et al., 2001) local communities in Mabamba Bay sometimes capture and raise juveniles (i wonder how they look like !?) for subsequent sale but "has not been very successful becaused of the specialised feeding habits of the birds, and as they grow they become expensive to feed". In Mabamba Bay the birds primarily feed on lungfish, itself a evolutionary anacronistic dead end.
On the other hand, the fishermen i have talked to in western Uganda actually used the presence of the bird as an indicator to where it might be worth fishing.
Although flying seems to present considerable efforts especially when taking off, the Shoebill is actually a very good flyer and as Carsten points out readily soars to great heights.
I have seen a soaring bird over the Najabuzzi swamp just outside Masaka, southwestern Uganda (also good for Rufous-bellied Heron and not least Sitatunga (Tragelaphus Spekei), probably one of Africas most accesible sites for this unique bovine) and although estimating heights is notoriously difficult, i assumed the bird to soar at about 500 meters. It has aso been sighted soaring over Kampala and given its patchy distribution in Africa and the pressure on its habitats this mobilty provides some hope for the species survival (the current estimates is 5-8000 individuals).
The sheer size, behaviour, rarity and the unique features of the Shoebill living in remote papyrus swamps probably makes it the most wanted bird on a trip to Africa southof Sahara.
This is one mean bird out of this world - evolution is a great thing although the Shoebill looks like something that was left behind !
Luckily it can be seen with ease only an hour from Uganda's capital in the Mabamba Bay making it a feasible possibilty even for guests with limited time (in fact about 500 bird species have been seen in Kampala and immediate surroundings !)
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