Shoebill Stork, Mabamba Swamp

With only about 5000 individuals left in the world the Shoebill Stork is one of the more threatened species in Africa. Most of the population live in war torn S...
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With only about 5000 individuals left in the world the Shoebill Stork is one of the more threatened species in Africa. Most of the population live in war torn Southern Sudan. And not only are they threatened by that but also by the desertification of the swamps it needs. So I thought to honour it with a little series.. for more information on my work and activities
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16 Comments | Report
ShellyRwanda PRO+
ShellyRwanda January 03, 2017
Stunning - We had one this year in Akagera NP - Rwanda for the first time in about a decade. I was not able to get this close. They are fantastic.
Neckbone April 11, 2017
Awesome story and image! Thanks for sharin g.
andrevondeling April 20, 2017
thank you so much!
mlorenekimura PRO+
mlorenekimura April 26, 2017
Beautiful photo, I have never seen or even heard of these guys before. Thanks for adding their story, it is really interesting - Lorene
mlorenekimura PRO+
mlorenekimura June 09, 2017
what a cool looking bird. Thank you for the story behind him
andrevondeling June 22, 2017
a bit late but thanks!
EdCorrea August 25, 2017
Awesome picture, thanks for sharing the story. You did honour it with this beautiful photo
Alwolfe Premium
Alwolfe November 02, 2017
Wonderful capture!
tanyahope November 22, 2017
Stunning !
russellgaughen PRO
russellgaughen November 24, 2017
What a Wonderful Image and Story. I have never seen an image of a Shoebill Stork or new thew existed. Thanks for Sharing. Russell
geoffcaddy PRO+
geoffcaddy January 14, 2018
That's an excellent shot of one one I've never seen or even heard of ,well done
howie516 PRO
howie516 March 02, 2018
An amazing photo of this bird and I love your narrative, .
acglock PRO+
acglock June 30, 2018
Prehistoric-looking beauty!
Candaceofmillerlake PRO
Candaceofmillerlake June 30, 2018
Absolutely stunning! You have captured this amazing bird beautifully.
AnitaMulder PRO+
AnitaMulder October 08, 2018
Love this photo Since I was a kid I am intrigued by these birds!!
andrevondeling October 08, 2018
Same here and I am so glad I was able to spend a day or 2 with them!
2himanshu December 20, 2018
Very beautiful, great shot and nice bird!
mttomimages May 18, 2019
Wow! Stunning image! How sad that they're endangered. I voted for it. I hope you are the Bird Portrait Challenge winner!
mttomimages June 06, 2019
Congratulations on winning the Endangered Species Challenge!

Behind The Lens

This image was taken in the Mabamba swamps on the (Ugandan) northern shores of Lake Victoria.
This must have been around 14:00 on a hot afternoon
Being almost on the equator and in the middel of the day this was hard light. Luckily it was a bit of an overcast day so the sun was a bit blocked.
We where in a canoe with 2 guides so difficult conditions. I was working from a tripod as I had my Nikon D-500, Nikon AF 5.6 200/500mm with a 1.4 extender.
I have always been fascinated by the Shoebills, these crossovers between pelicans and storks are extremely threatened and when I heard they where often spotted in Uganda I dedicated 2 day in a canoe on finding and spotting them. Sadly they are extremely threatened by both hunting (perceived threat by local fishermen) the wars in the Sudan and habitat loss. They are only found in the reed fields along the banks of the Nile. And with desertification going on in the pace it is today the future of the Shoebill Stork is not very bright. On top of that they are extremely slow breeders and often asian egg collectors raid the nests in the Mabamba swamps. Luckily this very poor area of Uganda discovered the touristic value of the species and are now protecting the colony (10 to 15 individuals in 2016) and do seem to have set up a very good canoe safari system there.
Only automatic correction in photoshop.
In my camera bag
When I am on international trips I am limited by the airline rulings in the amount of equipment I can bring. So on this trip 2 Nikon D-500 bodies, Nikon f5.6 200-500 mm, Sigma f 2.8 100-200, Nikon 50 mm, Sigma f 2.8 10-20 mm and a Sigma f 2.8 30-85 mm. triple set of batteries, 8 32 gig memory cards, 1.4 extender, 1 terabyte external drive and a laptop. Of course a tripod, beanbag, battery loaders and cleaning equipment.
The same advise I always give: go out there, study your subjects, try to get closer with out disturbing, use local knowledge as much as you can and enjoy what you are doing. Remember that everything has been done in nature photography besides your view on the world!

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