Nobody likes staring at a huge bill especially in the present financial climate, Exmoor zoo has recently received its largest bill ever! What makes it more interesting is that this one can never be paid, as the bill in question belongs to Abou. A Shoebill with probably one of the largest and most unusual bills in the bird world. Also known as whale heads, Shoebills are at home in the swamps and marsh lands of East Africa where they hunt fish and small invertebrates.

The staff here have nicknamed this stork “Doris”! We suspect she has reminded them of somebody! “Abou” is her recorded name as she was born and bred in Pairi Daiza Zoo in Belgium in 2008. She is one of the 8 only shoebills in Europe and has been waiting for the European breeding programme to be able to let her have a husband. Once paired Shoebills are monogamous and at the moment she has her keepers for company. Part of the courtship ritual is a bow and wing spread and she can often be seen greeting her keepers with this display or offering them nesting material. She has come to Exmoor Zoo, as we have good experience with wetland birds and, as an extremely rare species she fits in with the ethos and aims of the Zoo Conservation trust to care and look after rare and endangered species.

A spectacular, rare and very special bird that we will cherish on behalf of the breeding programme.

If you require any larger quality images or more specific information please get back to me. Could you credit the images to Ms Miriam Haas if you use them.

Stay safe everyone and enjoy the weather while it lasts!

See more from Exmoor Zoo

Enjoy a day out Exmoor Zoo, one of the “West-country’s hidden gems” on the edge of the National Park. Here you can experience a truly unique rural zoo set into a valley in North Devon. Discover rare and unusual animals seldom found in other zoos like Sand Cats, Binturong and…