(Balaenicipitidae; Ϯ Shoebill B. rex) L. balaena  whale  < Gr. φαλαινα phalaina  whale; -ceps  -headed  < caput, capitis  head; "Mr. Gould exhibited and described a new form in birds obtained from the interior of Africa, by Masfield Parkyns, Esq., Balæniceps rex is a stock [sic] with a perfectly anomalous beak of immense power, somewhat resembling that of Cancroma, while in stature it nearly equals the Maraboa and Adjutant" (Gould 1850); "I have the pleasure of introducing to the notice of the Society on the present occasion the most extraordinary bird I have seen for many years  ...  For this bird I propose the generic name of BALÆNICEPS, with the following characters: -  Bill enormously robust, equal in breadth and depth; sides of the upper mandible much swollen; culmen slightly elevated, depressed in the middle of its length, and terminating at the point in a very powerful hook; tomiæ sharp, turning inwards and very convex; lower mandible very powerful, with a sharp concave cutting edge and a truncated tip  ...  head very large  ...  BALÆNICEPS REX" (Gould 1852); "Balæniceps Gould, Proc. Zoöl. Soc. London, 1851 (1852), p. 1. Type, by original designation, Balæniceps rex Gould." (Peters 1931, 1, 125). The bizarre Shoebill or Whale-headed Stork preys to a great extent on catfish and lungfish.
Var. Balaniceps.

Search for more names on the Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology by James A. Jobling.
Recommended citation
Jobling, J. A. (2018). Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology. In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2018). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 December 2018).