Whale-Headed Stork Skull Replica 11 inches. Shoebill Skull is museum quality polyurethane cast. Made in USA. 2-part skull (separate cranium and jaw).

The Whale-Headed Stork or Shoebill is a tall bird, with a typical height range of 43 to 55 in. and some specimens reaching as much as 60 in.

Length from tail to beak can range from 39 to 55 in. and wingspan is 7 ft 7 in to 8 ft 6 in. Weight has reportedly ranged from 8.8 to 15.4 lb.

The signature feature of the Whale-Headed Stork or Shoebill species is its huge, bulbous bill, which is straw-colored with erratic greyish markings.

The exposed culmen is 7.4 to 9.4 in., the third longest bill among extant birds after pelicans and large storks, and can outrival the pelicans in bill circumference, especially if the bill is considered as the hard, bony keratin portion.

As in the pelicans, the upper mandible is strongly keeled, ending in a sharp nail. The dark colored legs are fairly long, with a tarsus length of 8.5 to 10.0 in.

The Shoebill Stork’s feet are exceptionally large, with the middle toe reaching 6.6 to 7.3 in. in length, likely assisting the species in its ability to stand on aquatic vegetation while hunting.

The neck is relatively shorter and thicker than other long-legged wading birds such as herons and cranes. The wings are broad, with a wing chord length of 23.1 to 30.7 in., and well-adapted to soaring.

The plumage of adult Shoebill Stork birds is blue-grey with darker slaty-grey flight feathers. The breast presents some elongated feathers, which have dark shafts.

The Whale-Headed Stork or Shoebill is distributed in freshwater swamps of central tropical Africa, from southern Sudan and South Sudan through parts of eastern Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, western Tanzania and northern Zambia.

The species is most numerous in the West Nile sub-region and South Sudan (especially the Sudd, a main stronghold for the species); it is also significant in wetlands of Uganda and western Tanzania.

The distribution of Whale-Headed Stork or Shoebill species seems to largely coincide with that of papyrus and lungfish. They are often found in areas of flood plain interspersed with undisturbed papyrus and reedbeds.

When Shoebill storks are in an area with deep water, a bed of floating vegetation is a requirement. They are also found where there is poorly oxygenated water. This causes the fish living in the water to surface for air more often, increasing the likelihood a shoebill stork will successfully capture it.

The Whale-Headed Stork or Shoebill is non-migratory with limited seasonal movements due to habitat changes, food availability and disturbance by humans.