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Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Balaenicipitidae
Bonaparte, 1853

Balaenicipitidae is a family of birds in the order Pelecaniformes, although it was traditionally placed in Ciconiiformes. The shoebill is the sole extant species and its closest relative is the hamerkop (Scopus umbretta), which belongs to another family. Species from the Ciconiiformes and Balaenicipitidae family have been found in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and parts of East Africa

It has the following genera:

Common characteristics

  • A sharp hooked tip to the upper beak[3]
  • A furrow in the upper beak below the nasal openings[3]
  • An ossified septum[3]
  • Vestigial or absent expansor secundariorum muscle[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Fossilworks: Balaenicipitidae".
  2. ^ "Shoebill". Birds life.
  3. ^ a b c d Mayr, Gerald (April 2003). "The phylogenetic affinities of the Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex)". Journal für Ornithologie. 144 (2): 157–175. doi:10.1007/BF02465644. S2CID 36046887.

Kasoma, P. M. B., & Pomeroy, D. E. (1987). The Status and Ecology of Storks and the Shoebill in East Africa. Colonial Waterbirds, 10(2), 221–228. https://doi.org/10.2307/1521261