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Shoebill Storks (Balaeniceps rex) are a species of bird known for their tall height (up to 5 feet) and wide-set bills. Online, shoebills are often discussed for their bizarre appearance and behavior.
One of the earliest known online discussions about the bird's strange appearance was launched in a Democratic Underground Forums thread titled "Behold! It's the ugly ass shoebilled stork thread!" submitted by user Guy Fawkes on March 16th, 2006 (shown below).
On March 27th, 2014, Redditor tricky3737 uploaded a GIF of shoebill turning to look at a camera titled "What the fuck did you say to me?" (shown below). Prior to being archived, the post received more than 2,500 points (91% upvoted) and 300 comments on /r/funny.
On May 10th, 2015, YouTuber Ben Wright uploaded footage of a shoebill bowing with a man as a display of dominance (shown below, left). On March 2nd, 2016, the BBC Earth YouTube channel uploaded a clip of shoebill chicks aggressively fighting each other from the Planet Earth television series (shown below, right). On March 18th, the /r/shoebillstorks subreddit was launched.
On July 23rd, Redditor ArkadiusBear uploaded a GIF of a shoebill fluttering its wings titled "The Shoebill stork is one sassy animal" to /r/gifs, where it gathered upwards of 11,500 points and 500 comments prior to being archived. On August 8th, Imgur user Aivovuoto posted a gallery of shoebill photographs titled "This goofy-looking motherfucker here is the Shoebill."
On September 2nd, Joe Rogan posted a photograph of a shoebill on his Instagram page, describing it as "the freakiest" bird with "a death stare that makes you wonder what it would have been like to lock eyes with a velociraptor" (shown below, left). On February 14th, 2017, the anime Kemono Friends aired an episode featuring an anthropomorphic shoebill character (shown below, right).
On April 4th, Redditor HopeSandoval posted a GIF of a shoebill bathing in a post titled "The Shoebill Stork is a living Pokemon" to /r/gifs, where it garnered more than 47,600 points (86% upvoted) and 1,400 comments within one week. Two days later, Redditor Michaelgamesss submitted a post asking "Why are shoebill storks suddenly so popular?" to /r/OutOfTheLoop, to which Redditor Supersace56 cited the Kemono Friends episode.
 Reddit – The Shoebill stork is one sassy animal
 Reddit – /r/ShoebillStorks
 Reddit – Shoebill stork is a living Pokemon
 Democratic Underground – BEHOLD! It's the UGLY ASS SHOEBILLED STORK thread!!!
 Reddit – What the fuck did you just say to me?
 Imgur – This goofy-looking motherfucker here is the Shoebill
Apr 11, 2017 at 10:15PM EDT
Apr 11, 2017 at 10:14PM EDT in reply to
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