Greater (Snowy) Sheathbill | Chionis albus

Roberts Birding Information: Greater Sheathbill

The Greater Sheathbill is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Chionidae bird family group which includes birds such as Storks.

The description for the Greater Sheathbill (Latin name Chionis albus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Chionis albus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 912 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 385. You will find a picture of the Greater Sheathbill on page 416.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Snowy Sheathbill in the Roberts 6th Edition. The Latin name for this bird is Chionis alba in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Greater Sheathbill has a height of 41 cms and weighs around 735 gms. The head is coloured white while the bill is coloured brown. The Chionis albus has a white coloured throat, grey legs and a white coloured back. The eyes are pink.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is white.

Eyes are pink.

Bill is brown.

Legs are grey.

Throat is white.

Back is white.

Greater (Snowy) Sheathbill Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

Greater (Snowy) Sheathbill Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

You can see the Greater Sheathbill bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Greater/Snowy Sheathbill is found singly, in pairs or in flocks!