Tag Archives: juveniles

Shoebill

Shoebill

Shoebill

The Shoebill, Balaeniceps rex also known as Whalehead is a very large bird related to the storks. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill.

The Shoebill is a very large bird, averaging 1.2 m (4 ft) tall, 5.6 kg (12.3 lbs) and 2.33 m (7.7 ft) across the wings. The adult is mainly grey, the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa, in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia.

The Shoebill was added rather recently to the ornithological lists; the species was only discovered in the 19th century when some skins were brought to Europe.

It was not until years later that live specimens reached the scientific community. The bird was known to both ancient Egyptians and Arabs however. There exist Egyptian images depicting the Shoebill while the Arabs referred to the bird as abu markub, which means one with a shoe. Clearly, this refers to the striking bill.

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Pelochelys cantorii (Cantor’s giant soft-shelled turtle)

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Pelochelys cantorii (Cantor’s giant soft-shelled turtle)

The turtle is found primarily in inland, slow-moving fresh water rivers and streams. Cantor’s giant soft-shelled turtles can grow up to 6 feet (about 2 meters) in length and weigh more than 100 pounds (about 50 kilograms).

The Cantor’s giant soft-shelled turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) is a species of fresh water turtle. The turtle has a broad head and small eyes close to the tip of its snout. The carapace is smooth and olive colored. Juveniles may have dark-spotted carapaces and heads, with yellow around the carapace.

Cantor’s giant soft-shelled turtles can grow up to 6 feet (about 2 meters) in length and weigh more than 100 pounds (about 50 kilograms).

P. cantorii is an ambush predator and primarily carnivorous, feeding on crustaceans, mollusks and fish (although some aquatic plants may also be eaten).The turtle spends 95 percent of its life buried and motionless, with only its eyes and mouth protruding from the sand. It surfaces only twice a day to take a breath, and lays 20-28 eggs (about 1.2 to 1.4 inches [3.0-3.5cm] in diameter) in February or March on riverbanks.

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