shoe bill


How to spot the Shoebill and why Uganda is the best destination to do it

The shoebill is certainly a distinctive looking bird. With its large bill and almost prehistoric features, it’s a sight to behold.

Standing at between 110cm and 140cm tall, the blue-grey bird features long legs and a broad wing span. And, of course, it’s bill does resemble the top of a shoe!

Otherwise known as the shoe-billed stork or whale-headed stork, it mainly eats fish – but has even been known to enjoy the taste of young crocodile, on occasion.

Just like herons, the shoebill flies with its head pressed back against its body.

A shoebill’s nest can be up to three metres wide, containing a clutch of up to three eggs. Typically, only one chick will survive into adulthood.

Sadly, there are thought to be only between 3,300 and 5,300 mature birds and the global population is decreasing.

Where can I see a shoebill in Uganda?

Go birding to spot the Shoebill in Uganda

Uganda is one of the best destinations for seeing a shoebill in its natural habitat – swamps and wetlands. There are several locations around the country where it can be found, from the Mabamba wetlands, off Entebbe, to the River Nile delta and Lake Albert near Murchison Falls national park.


Uganda birding safaris

The elusive Shoebill Mabamba swamp Uganda

Uganda has over 1,000 bird species so a birding safari isn’t only an opportunity to see a Shoebill but to search for other beautiful and sought-after birds who make their home here, like

  • Papyrus Gonolek
  • Green-breasted Pitta
  • African Finfoot

All of our birding safaris are accompanied by expert bird guides and site guides who ensure our guests get the very most out of their trip.

Supporting the communities that protect the Shoebill

Kisoros new boat Mabamba

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