Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A genus of grallatorial altricial birds, of which the type and only known member is the shoebill or whalehead of Africa, B. rex, comparatively lately discovered on the upper part of the White Nile. The genus is the type of a family Balænicipidæ, of somewhat uncertain position, probably near the storks. The bird is remarkable for its enormous vaulted beak, which is much longer than the head. Little is known of its habits and economy. It is a large species, standing upward of 3 feet high. The bill somewhat resembles that of the boat-billed heron, Cancroma cochlearia. See cut in preceding column.
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