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Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-10-15
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/100 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-02-05 6:59
Viewed: 2945
Points: 58
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Just another eye-catcher. This photo is taken when I visited the bird park in Germany for the second time.

Years ago I was looking for this bird in Uganda in a boat in a swamp for a whole afternoon. Our only success was to see it flying in a great distance.

The Shoebill, Balaeniceps rex, 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 tall, 100-140 cm long, 230-260 cm across the wings and weighs 4 to 7 kg. The adult is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia.

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.

Shoebills 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.
The population is estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals, the majority of which live in Sudan.

BirdLife International have classified it as Vulnerable with the main threats being habitat destruction, disturbance and hunting.

Source: Wikipedia

ramthakur, CeltickRanger, maaciejka, Hotelcalifornia, Jakkals, cobra112, Miss_Piggy, anel, goutham_ramesh, jusninasirun, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Ha, Ha!! Very funny this 'eye-catcher', Peter my neighbour! This sure is a new species for me and the name 'Shoebill' fits like the proverbial glove. The chap looks so glum with those brooding eyes.
As usual, a great portrait of this bird from your versatile hands.
Thanks and regards.

terrific Peter
that's what I call a great zoo picture, stunning

Hello Peter,
Excellent Eye contact.Outstanding sharpness.Nice colour.Nice POV and DOF.Beautiful portrait.

Thanks for sharing such exceptional picture.
Kind regards,

Hello Peter

And WOW ! look at that expressive scary glance of this bird,
great portrait with excellent management of the light,
great focus, sharpness, and details, TFS


Hello Peter,
Another inspiring capture with great perfections,technically as well as aesthetically.
Kind regards,

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-02-05 7:20]

Very fine viewpoint to get this eye catching image and what a beak...well captured. tfs.

Hi Peter,
beautiful portrait. Incredible presentation. Excellent sharpness and details. Really nice composition.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • IronM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 144 W: 3 N: 345] (2608)
  • [2013-02-05 8:35]

Hi Peter,
excellent capture of this interesting bird, hahaha very serious look ! Outstanding details, beautiful lighting, natural colors !
Best regards !

Hi Peter,

Stunningly eye-catching potrait...

Warm Regards,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-02-05 8:55]

Hi Peter,a magnificent face to face whit this very strange bird,great details from the big beak to the eyes and perfect exposure in these differents light levels.Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

Hallo Peter,
Wat een Vlekkelooze vangen! Dat blauwe ogen piercing met uitstekende scherpe details gevangen. De zachte verenkleed rond het hoofd en de scherpe veren in de nek gebied is iets speciaal voor mij. Perfecte lage POV, lichte beheer en contrasterende BG is gewoon geweldig. Een echt prehistorische vogel met een verschijning en biologische namen. Grote vangen mijn vriend en bedankt voor het delen.
Hartelijke groeten

Wow Peter!
A real master piece we have today in your gallery!Amazing portrait with great sharpness,focus and excelent yes contact.
Wow...it is so perfect!!!Bravo!So well done!TFS
Regards from,

hallo Peter
Deze is echt goed
super oog kontakt met veel scherpte en super mooie kleuren
bedankt groet lou

Ciao Peter. Just a masterpiece MF! An impressive/expressive portrait. Top quality brilliant colours Amazing light. One of you best.


Ciao Peter, fantastic portrait, amazing details, splendid sharpness and wonderful natural colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hi Peter
Very unique pose of a very colourful bird. I really like your DOV in this photo, from the tip of the beak to the feathers at the back of the head are very sharp. a using a 300mm really did a good job. Great closeup photo.
Thanks for sharing
Best regards

Hi Peter,
Excellent catch.

Hello Peter
Well chosen point of view. Great depth of field with everything in focus. Excellent detail. And amazing eye contact!
regards yiannis

Hallo Peter
I love the way you captured this image as this bird is not just looking at you but at me too, and what beautiful blue eyes it has! This is a striking portrait, captured with style and lots of skill. I remembered the 1st time ever I saw one of these birds when Manyee posted a photo and I was amazed at its strange but also fascinating features. Today I am still amazed looking at your image. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-02-06 11:49]

Hello Peter,
I discovered the existence of this fabulous bird thanks to your postings..and last year I have seen it for the first time in Zurich Zoo. Impressive bird, even my not so interested son does remember him! Love the expression you caught on this picture.
Very well done!
Good evening

Amazing bird and amazing pose Peter! Great photo with excellent composition, wonderful colours and impressive sharpness!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2013-02-07 6:33]

Hello Peter,
A real 'eye-catcher' shot, the frontal gaze of this Shoe-bill taken from a great POV with top sharpness and exposure in good lighting. A species that is very elusive in the wild but I have not seen it in a zoo yet.
Thanks and best regards,

Hi Peter, what exceptional detailed sharpness, a tripod hmmm a lesson to other fellow photographers for pin sharp images, splendid facial expression (reminds me of Velcro...), lovely picture my good friend TFS,

Best Regards,


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-02-09 19:39]

Hello Peter,
What a massive bill this guy has. Wonderful close-up showing it's unique facial features in super fine detail. Those large blue eyes seem to pierce right through you. It has quite an unusual hairdo:)

  • Great 
  • PeakXV Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 121 W: 0 N: 544] (3135)
  • [2013-02-10 20:14]

Hello Peter,

I thought it was the reincarnation of 'Aunt Bird' .... a character on the long running Canadian Kids TV series 'Mr. Dressup' .... for a moment. Certainly some relation this Shoebill that you have captured so candidly, so animated and in perfect light and sharpness. It deserves to be made into it's own cartoon series - it's that good/amusing. Well spotted, very well captured!!



Certainly an eye catcher. The POV is unusual and attractive. The details are colors are good.
Goutham R

Strait eye to eye contact. nice side light and amazing sharpness is very attractive here.
all in all it is great portrait of The Shoebill.
thank you Peter for this nice picture, which i missed due to my absent in the forum.
best wishes,

Hello Peter.
This is totally awesome mugshot. You can't get better pose than this with eye contact and close encounter with the beak near the glass. Thanks for this wonderful shot.

Hi Peter,
Eye-catching eye-catcher. :-) Excellent, breathtaking portrait. A masterpiece taken from a terrific PoV. Bravo!
Best regards, László

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2013-03-09 21:46]

Hello Peter
Good view of this special bird. The portrait is excelent detail and sharpness.
How the eye contact invite exploration of compositiwon.
Lovely pestel color too.


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