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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: 2010-07-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-09-12 0:57
Viewed: 3073
Points: 56
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
It was extremely hot that day, when I visited the birdpark. Almost 40 degrees. The sun was burning on the park. This Shoebill was standing like a lamppost, but suddenly he walked slowly to the water. Then I saw the light of the sun coming inside its beak.

Years ago I was searching in a swamp at this bird in a boat in Uganda during 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

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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-09-12 1:13]

Hi Peter,what a beautiful specie and what a brilliant pic today!I like a lot how you use the light to create a very high and perfect contrast,very good point of view,sharpness and colors.Very interesting!!Have a nice Sunday and thanks,LUCIANO

A kind of comic looking bird, this Shoebill, Peter. With the light filtering through its beak, it seems to be smiling sardonically.
Standing amid tall grasses, the bird exhibits its typical plumage very well.
Thanks and regards.

Hallo peter,

mooi deze Schoenbekooievaar in Walsrode, ik heb hem ook en misschien plaats ik hem ooit eens.
Mooie opname en lijkt net natuurlijk.De geopende snavel met de roze/oranje is mooi en een goed extra aan deze foto.
Goed pov en prachtige natuurlijke kleuren.
Je hebt daar goed je best gedaan in het park met al die soorten.


A well captured interesting and lovely bird Peter.
Thank you for sharing.


Hello Peter,
beautiful light here, great shot with good DOF. Compliments.
Thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-09-12 3:56]

Hello Peter,
A great capture on a hot day!
The way the sunlight shone through this Shoebill's bill has given it a fiery colour, while you have captured the rest of the bird from a nice lateral POV to show its features with excellent sharpness and colours.
The 'habitat' is convincingly natural in this amazing bird park and the lighting has a nice BG effect.
Thanks and have a good week,

Ciao Peter. Excellent DOF for the bird with intrigant graphic plumage so like the BG with intrigant playing of light.


Hi Peter. Great photo of this cute, big beaked bird.
Colours, dof and pov are nice.
Best regards

A beautiful shot of this bird, the Shoebird, my friend Peter.
I love your POV, which allows for us to see the sunlight pass through the beak!
Very well done!

Ciao Peter, great capture of strange bird, splendid light, woonderful natural ambientation, fine details abnd excellent sharpness. very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Hi Peter,
A nice capture of this beautiful shoebill bird. Sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hi Peter,
Excellent and lovely shot of this cute huge billed bird with excellent composition and pose!
TFS and regards,

Hello Peter,
Great capture with lovely details, colours and perfect focus.
Very nice composition. Outstanding clarity and composition.

Hello Peter,
Interesting bird with good details, excellent sharpness and POV. Well done!

hallo Peter
leuke opname met veel details en mooie kleuren
deze vogel doet mij denken aan een heleboel jaren terug toen hij ook in Artis stond
groetje lou

Hola Peter

Presionsa imagen, y como se le aprecia el interior del pico rojo, al penetrar en el el sol. Ha quedado realmente vella esta imagen.

Un saludo de Antonio

Hello Peter
Congratulations for the beautiful pictures, great natural colors, good POV and sharpness.
Thanks for sharing.
Hello Vanni

Hi Peter,

Excellent capture of this lovely beauty! Super sharp, and I love the way of he subject againt to light here and how the opposite light keeps the viewer's attention on the forward part of the head, especiall beak.
TFS and have a nice night/week MF!


hello Peter
beautiful capture of a special bird species, the composition is excellent with the high grass as BG and the wonderful light
the Shoebill is well detailed, great sharpness on the plumage,
TFS and have a good night

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-09-13 2:00]

Hello Peter,
Shoebills are really amazing-loking birds. You caught here well the sun illuminating its beak and the surrounding grasses! Luminous shot, indeed.
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2010-09-13 5:45]

Hi Peter
Great capture of an unknow specie for me.Good POV in is natural habitat.Sharp image with excellent plumage detail.Colors and light are also very nice.
TFS Michel

Impresionante y rara especie que nunca he visto por aquí.
A pesar de la toma lateral se aprecian sus características
principales. Buen control de la luz, difícil de conseguir.
Buena semana Peter: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-09-13 16:29]

Hi Peter,

I have only seen this strange looking bird behind wires. You are so lucky to have that marvelous bird park with these fascinating birds. He looks like he is ready to spit fire - the effect of the sun is wonderful. Beautiful colors and details of his face and wonderful feathers.


hello Peter
you are lucky to have such a beautiful birdpark. today we see another beautiful bird and its nice shot. you nicely captured Africa's famous shoebill among plants. focus, composition and colors very nice. thanks for sharing this beauty. well done.

Hi Peter,

I had never seen this type of bird before. Not even in photo! This is amazing. Very nicely captured. V good notes as well. V sharp and clear image.


Hallo Peter,
a very beautiful picture of the Shoebill, superb lighting and bright colours, very good sharpness, a nice composition in a splendid environment
Best regards

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-09-25 23:31]

Hi Peter,
such a lively composition in excellent light. The colours are very exciting and pretty in transluscence.
The well illuminated grass in the background make this view very special and attractive.


What an odd looking bird! Nice sharp photo with excellent gradations of colors in the wings. Thanks for sharing!

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