Lonely “Dinosaur Bird” Is Single And Finally Ready To Mingle

By Victor O

Abou, a 14-year-old Balaeniceps rex, aka “dinosaur bird,” was born and bred in Pairi Daiza Zoo in Belgium, though she now lives in the U.K. The Balaeniceps rex is a long-legged wading bird, known for its statue-like appearance given its ability to stay still for an extended period of time. Native to Africa, these slow-moving fishers can grow anywhere from 110 to 140 cm tall.

Image source: Hans Hillewaert/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

Recently, the bird has been expressing some signs of courtship in the Exmoor Zoo in Devon, England, by greeting her keepers with displays like bowing and spreading her wings. Since there are only 11 shoebills in captivity worldwide, she was strutting her stuff to no one…other than her human caretakers. She had to wait until the breeding program had a male so they can be matched and produce offspring.

Image source: pelican/CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

After years of waiting, Abou has been accepted into the breeding program. Better yet, she doesn’t need to set her standards low, as there are more males than females. When the time is right and a male is available, he’ll join her at the Exmoor Zoo. And the zookeepers are in no rush to have her lay eggs any time soon, either. Dinosaur birds have a life expectancy of 35 years, and Abou is still a teenager. We hope she finds her “soulmate” and they have many young ones for years to come. This species of bird is monogamous and only has one chick at a time, making it hard for zookeepers to boost the population.

Videos of this species are hard to come by, but we have a real treat for our readers wanting to see these unique creatures:

– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg5_ZxlnAl0

Video courtesy of Avibirds