No, this is not a still from Jurassic Park — this is a very real animal that exists on this planet. Who knew?

shoebill closeup

These birds, called shoebills, are described as large, stork-like secretive birds. They can be found in swamps in tropical east Africa.

Thanks to its enormous foot-long bill, this bird can hunt prey that it not typical of water birds. Its meals include baby crocodiles, lungfish, catfish, water snakes, large lizards and frogs. There has even been a report of a shoebill eating a young antelope — but that is unconfirmed.

Very efficient hunters, this species prefers water with less oxygen, causing fish to have to come to the surface more often.

Typically silent birds, they have been known to engage in bill-clattering during the mating season to attract mates. Extremely solitary birds, the mating season is the only time of year that shoebills spend in the company of their species. The noises they make while communications have bee described as a cow-like moo and various whining noises. When young shoebills are hungry, they call out to their mothers with a sound that is similar to a person hiccuping.

shoebill 2