Shoebills And People

Shoebills appear in wall paintings and hieroglyphics (high-ruh-GLIH-fix), symbol writing, used in ancient Egypt. People told scary stories about shoebills, and the birds were protected because people were afraid to kill them. There is even a myth that people who are fishing will have bad luck if they see a shoebill or mention its name.

Some African countries honor shoebills by putting their pictures on postage stamps. However people also cause problems for shoebills. Farmers raising rice and other crops destroy

When shoebills are fishing, they stand and point their bills straight down so that they can see with both eyes. When they spot prey, they instantly throw their wings forward and their heads downward, and quickly snap up the prey with their bills. (Robert J. Huffman/Field Mark Publications. Reproduced by permission.)

When shoebills are fishing, they stand and point their bills straight down so that they can see with both eyes. When they spot prey, they instantly throw their wings forward and their heads downward, and quickly snap up the prey with their bills. (Robert J. Huffman/Field Mark Publications. Reproduced by permission.)

their habitat, wetlands are drained so people can build on them, and their nesting swamps are sometimes burned to make it easier for people to fish and hunt there. Some people catch the birds and sell them to zoos, and others hunt them for food.

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