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25 septiembre 2014 4 25 /09 /septiembre /2014 17:11


SHOEBILL STORKBalaeniceps rex©Avi_Abrams The Shoebill, also known as Whalehead, is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill. The adult bird is: 115–150 cm (4-5 feet) tall100–140 cm (40–55 in) long230–260 cm (9-10 feet) across the wings 4 to 7 kg (8.8-15.5 lbs) in weight The Shoebill lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia. They feed in muddy waters, preying on fish, frogs, reptiles such as baby crocodiles, and small mammals. They nest on the ground and lay 2 eggs. This species was only classified in the 19th century when some skins were brought to Europe. It was not until years later that live specimens reached the scientific community. However, the bird was known to both ancient Egyptians and Arabs. There are Egyptian images depicting the Shoebill, while the Arabs referred to the bird as abu markub, which means one with a shoe, a reference to the bird’s distinctive bill. Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoebill Other photos you might like: The Shoebill and the Duck Don’t Mess with the Shoebill Another weird-looking stork - the Hammerhead —- tanakakun: 1 (via Avi_Abrams)



The shoebill (Balaeniceps rex)  has previously been classified in the order Ciconiiformes, its true affiliations with other living birds is ambiguous.






El picozapato es una especie de ave pelecaniforme, la única de la familia Balaenicipitidae. Su nombre cientifico es Balaeniceps rex y su nombre común alude a la forma de su enorme pico.






Distribución del picozapato


Distribución del picozapato






Se sabe muy poco de las costumbres y orígenes del picozapato, es un ave sumamente difícil de observar en su medio natural, en parte debido a que se encuentra en peligro de extinción. Existen algunos ejemplares en cautividad en varios zoológicos europeos.


Hasta ahora se han descrito dos parientes fósiles de los picozapatos; Goliathia del Oligoceno Inferior de Egipto y Paludavis del Mioceno Inferior del mismo país. Se ha sugerido que la enigmática ave fósil africana Eremopezus es pariente también, pero la evidencia ha corroborado la falsedad de dicha hipótesis. Todo lo que se sabe de Eremopezus es que fue un ave muy grande, probablemente del tipo de aves no voladoras con pies flexibles, lo que le permite manejar bien la vegetación o presa.





Paleogene Fossil Birds

Gerald Mayr - 2009 - ‎Nature

The original description of the rhea-sized Eremopezus eocaenus Andrews, 1904 was based on the distal end of a tibiotarsus (Andrews 1904). Subsequently






Having mentioned Goliathia, other fossil shoebill specimens are on record: the first is a partial distal end of a tarsometatarsus from the Upper Miocene of Tunisia, recognised as that of a shoebill by Rich (1972). Harrison & Walker (1982) later described a very similar fossil (also a partial distal end of a tarsometatarsus) from the Upper Miocene of Pakistan and suggested that it and the Tunisian fossil represented the same species, Paludiavis richae. If they’re right, then shoebills once inhabited Asia as well as Africa. And, for the sake of google, let me note here that Balaeniceps has conventionally been given its own ‘family’, Balaenicipitidae, and – sometimes – its own ‘order’ too, Balaenicipitiformes.

Incidentally, for more cartoons depicting obscure fossil birds, check out the Talpanas article here. For more on the Shoebill, see…






PARIENTE: el avemartillo (Scopus umbretta) es una especie de ave pelecaniforme de la familia Scopidae. Habita los ríos y humedales del África subsahariana y Yemen. Los estudios moleculares han encontrado que es  el pariente más cercano del picozapato .

Scopus umbretta: Molecular studies have found the hamerkop to be the closest relative of the shoebill.


El comportamiento del avemartillo es diferente al de otras aves. Una característica inusual es que hasta diez aves se unen en "ceremonias" en que se ejecutan círculos alrededor de las otras, todas llamando a viva voz, levantando sus crestas y revoloteando sus alas. Otra conducta singular es el "falso montaje", en el que un ave se coloca encima de otra y parece montarla, pero sin copular y sin ser necesariamente pareja.
El aspecto más extraño de comportamiento del avemartillo (hamerkop) es el enorme nido, a veces de más de 1,5 metros  de diámetro, que consta tal vez 10.000 palos y es lo suficientemente fuerte como para soportar el peso de un hombre. Las aves decoran el exterior con objetos de colores brillantes. Cuando es posible, construyen el nido en la orquilla de un árbol, a menudo sobre el agua, pero si es necesario y no tienen otra alternativa, hacen el nido en un banco ribereño, un acantilado, un muro o un dique construido por el hombre.





A hamerkop bird standing in a stream in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.

Scopus umbretta: Molecular studies have found the hamerkop to be the closest relative of the shoebill.

The hamerkop is a medium-sized wading bird 56 centimetres (22 in) in length with a weight of 470 grams (17 oz). The shape of its head with a long bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. It ranges from Africa, Madagascar to Arabia, in wetlands of a wide variety, including estuaries, lakesides, fish ponds, riverbanks and rocky coasts in Tanzania. The hamerkop, which is a sedentary bird that often show local movements, is not globally threatened and is locally abundant in Africa and Madagascar.[2]


The hamerkop's behaviour is unlike other birds. One unusual feature is that up to ten birds join in "ceremonies" in which they run circles around each other, all calling loudly, raising their crests, fluttering their wings. Another is "false mounting", in which one bird stands on top of another and appears to mount it, but they may not be mates and do not copulate.[2][4]

The strangest aspect of hamerkop behaviour is the huge nest, sometimes more than 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) across, comprising perhaps 10,000 sticks and strong enough to support a man's weight. The birds decorate the outside with any bright-coloured objects they can find. When possible, they build the nest in the fork of a tree, often over water, but if necessary they build on a bank, a cliff, a human-built wall or dam, or on the ground.



The hamerkop is usually included in the Ciconiiformes, but might be closer to the Pelecaniformes.[3] It constitutes a family (Scopidae) and genus (Scopus) all on its own because of its unique characteristics.[2]










August 2012


There are surprisingly few good books on the evolution and fossil history of birds: among those I recommend are Luis Chiappe’s Glorified Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds (Chiappe 2007), Gary Kaiser’s The Inner Bird: Anatomy and Evolution (Kaiser 2007), and Gerald Mayr’s Paleogene Fossil Birds (Mayr 2009). In view of this, Gareth Dyke and Gary Kaiser’s multi-authored Living Dinosaurs: the Evolutionary History of Modern Birds (published in 2011) is a most welcome addition.

An attractive volume with high production values and numerous excellent diagrams and photos (including a colour plate section), Living Dinosaurs contains 16 separate contributions on bird evolution, ranging in topic from bird origins and their Mesozoic and early Cenozoic diversification to conservation and the role of climate change in shaping the diversity and distribution of birds in the future. It is a technical book, intended for specialist researchers and not for a general audience.

As a strong proponent of the well supported inclusion of birds within the theropod dinosaur radiation, I’m personally more than happy to see people referring to birds as ‘living dinosaurs’. However, in this particular case I feel that the volume’s title is misleading, since it creates the impression that the book focuses on bird origins and on their place within Dinosauria more than it does. The volume is not, in fact, devoted to the evolutionary transition between non-avialan dinosaurs and birds, nor to the diversity and evolution of Mesozoic birds; just three of the volume’s articles cover these issues. Rather, it’s a very well rounded compilation of articles that cover the whole of bird history, the majority of included papers being on Cenozoic fossil birds and modern ones. Hopefully then, the title will not discourage those interested in birds but not necessarily in other dinosaur groups.



* Malcolm Allison h  2014

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  • Malcolm Allison H malcolm.mallison@gmail.com
  • Biólogo desde hace más de treinta años, desde la época en que aún los biólogos no eran empleados de los abogados ambientalistas. Actualmente preocupado …alarmado en realidad, por el LESIVO TRATADO DE(DES)INTEGRACIÓN ENERGÉTICA CON BRASIL
  • Biólogo desde hace más de treinta años, desde la época en que aún los biólogos no eran empleados de los abogados ambientalistas. Actualmente preocupado …alarmado en realidad, por el LESIVO TRATADO DE(DES)INTEGRACIÓN ENERGÉTICA CON BRASIL