Shoebill: The Death Bird

The Shoebill is one of the scariest and largest birds you can find on the entire globe. Standing at about five feet on average and a wingspan of about eight feet, these stork-like birds can be found in the tropics of East Africa. Named for its enormous shoe-shaped bill, the Shoebill is usually grey in color with a yellow-orange bill. These birds were once classified with storks, a very close morphological bird but, have since been classified into their own genus and species (Balaeniceps).

Photo by Petr Ganaj on

Shoebills are not like many other birds on the planet today. Like all birds, the Shoebill evolved from dinosaurs millions of years ago. Not until, about 65 million years ago, however, did the Shoebill believe to start its life. Like most things in prehistoric times, Shoebills had to survive fiercely. Their bill is not only a defining characteristic of their species but a dangerous weapon. Its sharp ends and immense strength allow it to decapitate six-foot fish, swallow eels, and even crocodiles.

So, are these immense and powerful birds dangerous to humans? The answer in short is yes and no. The Shoebill has the capability of being lethal to a human but, it would only happen in situations where a person provokes the animal. This includes getting too close, causing a threat to their young, and hunting. To stay safe from this animal, you should approach with causing and awareness.

Photo by Inga Seliverstova on

One of the craziest things people say when they see this bird is, how does it fly? The Shoebill might look like it weighs close to a hundred pounds but it is actually much less than that. Due to the adaptations of birds and their morphological structures such as porous bones, these birds weigh only about 15 pounds! This makes it easier for their large wings to create lift and fly short distances.

Owls: The Smartest Birds?

Owls are known for their large eyes, fluffy feathers, and their incredible sight but, I guarantee there is a lot more you did not know about Owls. The standard Owl is a part of the order Strigiformes, which contains over 200 species of Owls. This order is defined as nocturnal birds that have binocular vision and hearing, sharp talons, upright stance, broad head, and feathers that have been adapted to silent flight.

Though there are many species of Owls, they all share the same characteristics. The most common owl of them all is the barn owl. This owl can be found anywhere in the world except in desert and polar regions. They weigh on average, just over one pound and are about one foot tall. These creatures are not just adapted for catching prey with their sharp talons and their incredible eyesight but, they are intelligent at it as well. This doesn’t mean they are intelligent in general, however. In fact, Owls are not even close to the smartest of birds. Their brains are developed in a way that two-thirds of it is meant for senses such as hearing and vision. These rest is meant for cognitive problem solving and other functions. This means that they can not figure out complex solutions like a crow or parrot. This is why they are intelligent at hunting only.

Pigeons: The Birds Of The City

It has been a cold few days here in Philidelphia, but one of the locals never seem to think so. The Pigeon can be seen in all major cities around the United States. As they walk around, fearless of anything or anyone, they scavenge for anything to eat. They will find a hotdog that fell on the ground or bread someone is tossing for them. The Pigeon is closely related to the dove and are the only two families in the Columbiformes order. These avian birds have a stout body and short neck their short bills are indicative of their scavenging diet (fruits, seeds, plants, etc.)

Most of the time when someone mentions a pigeon they picture a grey or white bird. The truth is that pigeons can be a rainbow of colors including tangerine, orange, and even red. This color combination can be seen in most pigeons if looked at very closely. The most common color is a mixture of grey and white, however.

So, you may be asking where pigeons nest in such busy cities. Pigeons will make any place home if possible. This includes ledges of skyscrapers, nooks of buildings, and often below bridges or overhangs. So, the next time you are walking around the busy city look up and try to find a nest of one of the natives.