lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

S number 1 is for Shoebill Stork


Shoebill storks live in Africa, and are unusual, prehistoric-looking birds, about one and half metres tall. They have extraordinary, up to 30 cm long, shoe-shaped bills from which they derive their name.

Not a huge amount is known about them – they hunt at night, are quite solitary, and live in impenetrable marshes.

They catch and eat reptiles, lungfish, waterfowl, rats and even small crocodiles with their incredible bills, killing swiftly with a sharp hook at the end, before tossing the catch into their mouths and gulping – shaking their heads in a way that appears very satisfied.

Their population is quite sparse, and in various parts of their territories they suffer from habitat destruction, fire, drought, trapping, persecution, and trampling by other large animals.

They are classified  as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


Information about shoebill storks is here: Wikipedia.

Information about the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species is here: IUCN Red List.

Illustration © Liz Brownlee – all this post is copyright, please do not repost, you may link to it.


  1. I love your illustrations Liz


    • I also have loved al of your illustraations. How are you making them? Some, like today’s, looked cross-stitched–and then scanned or photographed. Please, what is your method? I have wondered since the letter A.


    • Thank you!


  2. It’s a very simple method – I haven’t spent long because I don’t have time. I just find a photo, draw it on the computer (using the mouse) in blocks of colour, put in some detail, highlights etc, then run it through a filter program in photoshop which either gives it texture or the look of having been done on a certain paper or in certain materials like watercolour. It’s extremely quick and easy (about half an hour). I can draw well – I’m just not an artist. I prefer to play with my mind in poetry, but I’m afraid the poetry on the challenge hasn’t been good quality either, it’s just quick! But it’s the message in this case.


  3. Good illustration and good information!


  4. Nick Wilford

    The last line of your poem made me smile but it’s sad they are so endangered. I’d never heard of them! Loved the picture too.


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