Panorama of a Safari Park field exhibit with giraffes, water buffalo, and rhinos

Birds

Pheasant

Argus pheasants are the size of peafowl and live in the montane forests of Southeast Asia. They have powerful legs for walking. Strong flight muscles can get their heavy body out of danger, and eyes on the side of their head help detect predators.

Shoebill

The shoebill has an impressive bill that resembles a Dutch wooden shoe. Until recently, shoebills were considered part of the stork family; however, DNA studies revealed that they are closer related to pelicans. So now, shoebills are in the Order Pelecaniformes within its own family, Balaenicipitidae. It is often compared to a statue, as the bird stands still for long periods of time in marshes, waiting for a fishy meal to surface. This “freeze-and-seize" strategy ensures that the shoebill lands its prey.

Flamingo

With their pink and crimson plumage, long legs and neck, and hooked bill, flamingos cannot be mistaken for any other type of bird. They live in lagoons or large, shallow lakes. These bodies of water may be quite salty or caustic: too much so for most other animals. In some lakes, their only animal “neighbors” are algae, diatoms, and small crustaceans. That works in the flamingo’s favor, as the birds dine on these small creatures!

Pelican

It is easy to identify pelicans, because they are one of the only birds with a pouch under their bill. This enormous, naked-skin pouch hangs from the lower half of the pelican's long, straight bill, hooked at the tip. The bird uses this pouch to catch fish.

Pelicans have been one of the Safari Park’s big success stories. We have the most comprehensive and productive collection of pelicans in North America. We are also the only accredited facility with great white, Dalmatian, and pink-backed pelicans.

Storm’s Stork

The Storm's stork is one of the rarest birds at the Safari Park. The colorful, medium-sized storks are native to forested peat swamps in Indonesia and Malaysia. They feed on fish but may also eat reptiles, frogs, or large insects. Storm's storks form pair bonds that can last for years. They may reuse their nest, freshening it up with sticks and mud each year. Stork nests used over time can become huge, measuring six feet across!

Hammerkop

The backward-pointing crest of the hammerkop gives it its alternate name: hammerhead. Found in the woodlands and wetlands of Africa, the hammerkop is a wading bird famous for its enormous, domed nest. The birds plaster the inside walls of their home with mud.

Look for the nest made by our hammerkops in the Wings of the World aviary near the Safari Park’s entrance. These nests often weigh up to 100 pounds. Can you see the nest's entrance hole on the side? The hammerkops live inside their nest, not on top of it. Other birds might build nests on top of the hammerkops' nest!

Crowned Crane

The crowned crane is a tall, majestic-looking bird with a “crown” of tall, stiff, golden feathers. The crane's long legs and neck, and excellent peripheral vision help it spot predators in the tall savanna grasses.

California Condor

Native American tribes respect the California condor and see it as a symbol of power. In legends, they call it the "thunderbird," bringing thunder to the skies with the beating of its huge wings. Yet, the California condor population was almost wiped out by the destruction of habitat, poaching, and lead poisoning. In 1982, only 22 birds remained in the wild. San Diego Zoo Global received permission to begin the first captive propagation program for California condors. Thanks to the California Condor Recovery Program, the population of California condors has grown to more than 400 birds.

Secretary Bird

Standing over four feet tall, secretary birds cruise through Africa's tall grass on long legs while looking for a meal. They prefer savannas and open grasslands where they can see around them while strolling. But can they fly? Of course! Secretary birds are good fliers and nest and roost in acacia trees at night.

Wings of the World

INTERNATIONAL FEATHERED FRIENDS

Enter the winged world of this aviary near the entrance to the Park and find yourself up close to a variety of feathered beauties. You might see a bird dart in front of you and vanish into the protective shelter of a broad-leafed plant. Overhead, wings disturb the air, and your ears fill with chirps, cackles, and hoots, the sounds of flourishing avian life.

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