The sabot bird | Facts & Information

# The Sabot Bird | Facts & Information

The Sabot Bird | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About The Sabot Bird

The Abu-Markub bird (Balaeniceps rex) is also known as the sabot bird or whale-headed Stork. The Abu-Markub bird belongs to the order Pelecaniformes and the family Balaenicipitidae.

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The Sabot Bird

The Sabot Bird










It inhabits the regions of Central Africa, Southern Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and some neighboring countries. It prefers areas with lakes and swamps, with dense vegetation of reeds and papyrus, in which it is used to hide.

If you see the saber bird, you would hardly think that it is related to the Heron from us because of its special appearance. Because it lives in regions that are hard for humans to reach, the life of the abumarkub is little known.

Being rare and especially strange in appearance, the bird arouses a lot of interest.

The bird was discovered by zoologists in 1849, in the smarcas near the White Nile. Previously, the stories of the natives about a flying bird with such a strange head were considered by travelers, but especially by zoologists, as legends from the rich fairy-tale world of Africans. Discovering it, zoologists called it Balaeniceps rex.

Sabot Food

It feeds on fish it catches using the ambush technique-it waits motionless on shoals or floating vegetation until the fish passes by.

The attack then proceeds lightning fast, with the hook at the end of the beak helping the bird to catch and crush prey.

Besides fish, it also feeds on water snakes, frogs, turtles and even baby crocodiles, rats or waterfowl.

Sabot Features

The plumage of the saber Bird is uniform grey with a short feather mot on the back of the head. The body is dominated by the massive and powerful beak about 23 cm long and 10 cm wide, which ends in a hook pointing downwards.

By closing and opening movements of the beak makes sounds as if someone is hitting two wood between them. Adult specimens can reach impressionable sizes: 115 and 150 cm tall, 100-140 long, 230-260 cm wingspan and a weight of 4 and 7 kg.

It has long legs and fingers do not show the flipping membrane, but ends with powerful claws. The neck, relatively short and thick, supports the large head and the enormous and wide beak.

The primitive appearance and the relatively recent discovery – in the middle of the XIX century – confused specialists, who did not know which family of birds it belongs to. Some have claimed that the saber Bird is related to the stork, while others have considered it closer to Pelicans.

A recent study based on DNA comparisons, as well as anatomical comparisons, shows that Balaeniceps Rex is more closely related to the Pelican and Heron.

As a habitat, it prefers swamps, especially lakes with floating vegetation and those with dense vegetation, mostly composed of papyrus. In general, it stays in more open areas, where tree crowns and very tall vegetation do not cause it any problems when taking off.

Because of its size, the Shoebill is slower in movements. It's a solitary bird. In most cases it uses canals dug by elephants or hippos.

Breeding Sabot

He builds a large nest, 1 m high, in the middle of the swamp, on a floating island, from stems of marsh plants, which he piles and strengthens with herbs and mud. The brooding period lasts from June to august.

The female lays 1-3 white-blue eggs with brown spots, which are hatched for a period of 30 days. On hot summer days pour water from the beak over the eggs to cool them. At first, the chicks are covered with gray-tan fluff and have a small beak, only after the fourth week the beak begins to develop.

About 140 days from the moment of laying, the chicks emerge from the eggs and become independent, and after another 3 years reach maturity.

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The sabot bird | Facts & InformationThe Sabot Bird | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About The Sabot Bird