Shoebill Stork Size Revealing Towering Heights & Contrasting Comparisons 2024

Shoebill Stork Size: Revealing Towering Heights & Contrasting Comparisons 2024

Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by themubbi63

Towering over the African wetlands, the Shoebill Stork size isn’t just visually striking; it’s surprisingly tall. Reaching up to 5 feet (1.5 meters), these giants rival some humans in height. Their impressive size is balanced by a lighter weight, crucial for powerful wings that span over 8 feet (2.5 meters).

Despite the massive beak – the world’s third largest among birds – these solitary nesters lay surprisingly large eggs. They raise 1-3 chicks, but competition for parental attention can be fierce, with the eldest often receiving the most care.

Shoebill Stork Size

It may look like a funny kind of bird with its large bill that almost looks like a Dutch clog. People might even be confused about whether it belongs to the pelican or stork family. But the shoebill stork is a magnificent bird with a fascinating history. Even the ancient Egyptians knew and respected this species of bird. They’re found throughout eastern Africa and might actually be more closely related to herons and pelicans than actual storks.

Shoebill Stork Size chart

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Shoebill Stork Height

A shoebill stork is definitely a tall bird. Usually, an adult shoebill stork will range from 43 to 55 inches (110 – 140 cm). Some individuals can even be as tall as 60 inches (152 cm). The males are slightly larger than the females and their bills will usually be proportionately longer.

Of this height, a good portion of it is just made up of the long legs, measuring about 85 – 10 inches (21.7 – 25.5 cm). Their feet are also very big, measuring up to 7 inches or 18 cm, which is comparable to a human foot.

On the other hand, the neck isn’t as long and slim as the necks of herons and cranes. It’s shorter and thicker.

Shoebill Stork43 – 60110 – 152

Shoebill Stork Weight

Given their size, shoebill storks aren’t actually that weighty. Understandable considering that their wings have to be able to lift them and carry them. 

A fully grown male shoebill stork weighs around 12.3 lb or 5.6 kg. The females, slightly smaller and lighter, weigh about 11 lb or 4.9 kg.

Shoebill Stork PoundsKilograms

Shoebill Stork Wingspan

The wingspan of a shoebill stork is truly enormous and very impressive. Some of the largest specimens have wings that measure 8 feet 6 inches from one wing tip to the other. The average itself happens to be around 7 feet 7 inches.

Thus, we can easily see how the wings are capable of supporting one of the tallest birds in the world. These kinds of wings are pretty well-adapted to soaring so that the shoebill storks don’t have to keep flapping them all the time.

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Shoebill Stork Bill and Tail Size

The bill is exactly what gives this species of bird its name so we should know how long it can be. Most storks have long, pointed and powerful beaks. But the shoebill has a wedge-shaped beak, often compared to shoes like Dutch clogs. 

Shoebill storks have the third longest bill in the world, just after pelicans and some large storks. As far as circumference is concerned, however, they can outrival even pelicans. Their bills measure between 7.4 and 9.4 inches (18.8 – 24 cm) in length and around 4 – 5 inches (10 – 13 cm) wide.

The tail of a shoebill stork ranges from 39 inches to 55 inches (100 – 140 cm).

Shoebill Stork Egg Size

Shoebill storks are extremely solitary birds. Unlike a lot of other wading birds, they don’t nest in colonies but far apart from each other. Both parents build the nest together and defend the territory against intruders. Eggs are laid in nests that are often over 5 feet in diameter.

The eggs of a shoebill stork are quite big. They measure around 3.1 – 3.5 inches (8 – 9 cm) in length and 2.2 – 2.4 inches (5.6 – 6.1 cm) in width. The eggs weigh about 5.8 oz or 164 g.

Shoebill Stork Clutch Size

The clutch size of a shoebill stork is between 1 and 3 eggs. However, the extremely solitary nature of the shoebill stork extends here as well. Chicks will often fight for their parents’ attention and all of them might not get it equally.

Often, the eldest hatchling is preferred and the younger one is brought up more as reserve than anything.

Shoebill Stork Size Comparison to Humans

Shoebill Stork Size Comparison to Humans

Shoebill storks, as one of the biggest birds in the world, can actually compare to humans in height. Given that some of them can be 5 feet tall, they might be equivalent to some shorter people. 

Since the average human stands about 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches, the average shoebill stork isn’t all that much shorter. The average shoebill stork stands at around 4 feet 7 inches.

Shoebill Stork Vs Great White Pelican Size Comparison

Shoebill Stork Vs Great White Pelican Size Comparison

Many biologists believe that pelicans are closer to the shoebill stork than storks and it would be better to class them in the same family. Given that, it’s only natural to compare the height, weight and wingspan of the two.

If we look at the great white pelican which occupies some of the same areas as the shoebill stork does, we see that the shoebill stork is just a little smaller than the pelican. The great white pelican stands around 55 – 68 inches in height with a weight of 22 – 24 lb and a wingspan of 96 – 116 inches.

Shoebill Stork43 – 60 inches (110 – 152 cm)11 – 12.3 lb (4.9 – 5.6 kg)91 – 102 inches (231 – 259 cm)
Great White Pelican55 – 68 inches (140 – 173 cm)22 – 24 lb (10 – 11 kg)96 – 116 inches (244 – 295 cm)

Shoebill Stork Vs Marabou Stork Size Comparison

Shoebill Stork Vs Marabou Stork Size Comparison

While it’s now generally acknowledged that shoebill storks aren’t actually storks, it’s still worth comparing their measurements with other large storks of the area. The Marabou stork, which is found in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, is somewhat larger than the shoebill stork in most ways. Only in wingspan might the shoebill outstrip the marabou.

The marabou is about 60 inches tall from head to foot and weighs between 9.9 and 17.6 lb, although some really large specimens might reach 20 lb. It’s said to have the largest wingspan of any landbird, rivaling the Andean condor. However, this isn’t strictly true, since the average marabou stork has a wingspan that is a whole foot less than the condors.

Shoebill Stork43 – 60 inches (110 – 152 cm)11 – 12.3 (4.9 – 5.6 kg)91 – 102 inches (231 – 259 cm)
Marabou Stork Size60 inches (152 cm)9.9 – 17.6 lb (4.5 – 8 kg)84 – 126 inches (213 – 320 cm)


Shoebill storks may appear bulky, but their impressive size is balanced by a lighter build for efficient flight. Their wingspan and massive beak are remarkable features, making them truly unique birds.


How tall can a Shoebill Stork get?

Shoebill Storks are surprisingly tall, reaching 43 to 60 inches (110-152 cm). Some individuals can even be as tall as 5 feet (1.5 meters).

How big is a Shoebill Stork’s wingspan?

Their wingspan is truly impressive, measuring 7 feet 7 inches to 8 feet 6 inches (231-259 cm) on average. This allows for efficient soaring despite their size.

Are Shoebill Storks heavier than they look?

No, despite their impressive height, Shoebill Storks are relatively lightweight. Males weigh around 12.3 lbs (5.6 kg), while females are slightly lighter at 11 lbs (4.9 kg).

What’s unique about a Shoebill Stork’s beak?

Their namesake feature is the enormous wedge-shaped beak, ranking as the third largest among birds. It measures 7.4-9.4 inches (18.8-24 cm) long and boasts a width of 4-5 inches (10-13 cm).

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