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Stork

   

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 19 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in Namibia.

  • Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis
    The Yellow-billed Stork, Mycteria ibis, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It occurs in Africa south of the Sahara and in Madagascar. Its a medium-sized stork. Length: 97 cm; average body weight for males: 2.3 kg; for females: 1.9 kg. Plumage mainly pinkish-white with black wings and tail; bill yellow, blunt, and decurved at tip. Immature birds are greyish brown with dull greyish brown bill, dull orange face and brownish legs. The similar Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) is an Asian bird.
     
  • African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus
    The African Openbill (Anastomus lamelligerus) is a species of stork in the Ciconiidae family. It is found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
     
  • Black Stork Ciconia nigra
    The Black Stork Ciconia nigra is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It is a widespread, but rare, species that breeds in the warmer parts of Europe, predominantly in central and eastern regions. This is a shy and wary species, unlike the closely related White Stork. It is seen in pairs or small flocks—in marshy areas, rivers or inland waters—often in association with White Storks. The Black Stork feeds on amphibians and insects.

    Slightly smaller than the White Stork, the Black Stork is a large bird, nearly 1 m (39 in) tall with a 1.8 m wingspan, weighing around 3 kilograms. It is all black except for the white belly and axillaries, and its red bill and legs. It walks slowly and steadily on the ground. Like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched. It has a rasping call, but rarely indulges in mutual bill-clattering when adults meet at the nest.

    The Black Stork is a strong migrant, wintering in tropical Africa and India. However, the Iberian population is resident. The Black Stork is a broad-winged soaring bird, which relies on thermals of hot air for long distance flight. Since thermals only form over land, storks, together with large raptors, must cross the Mediterranean at the narrowest points, and many Black Storks can be seen going through the Bosporus. They fly approximately 100 to 250 km a day with daily maxima up to 500 km.
     
  • Abdim's Stork Ciconia abdimii
    The Abdim's Stork, (Ciconia abdimii) also known as White-bellied Stork, is a black stork with grey legs, red knees and feet, grey bill and white underparts. It has red facial skin in front of eye and blue skin near the bill in breeding season. It is the smallest species of stork (but still a large bird), at 73 cm and a weight of just over 1 kg. The female lays two to three eggs and is slightly smaller than male.

    The Abdim's Stork is distributed to open habitats throughout Eastern Africa, from Ethiopia south to South Africa. Its diet consists mainly of locusts, caterpillars and other large insects.

    Among the smallest storks, this species is welcomed and protected by local African belief as a harbinger of rain and good luck. The name commemorates the Turkish Governor of Wadi Halfa in Sudan Bey El-Arnaut Abdim (1780–1827).

    Widespread and common throughout its large range, the Abdim's Stork is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is the subject of a nationally-coordinated breeding program in the United States; the Population Management Plan for this species is administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
     
  • Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
    The Woolly-necked Stork, Ciconia episcopus, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It can also be known as the Espiscopos.

    It is a widespread tropical species which breeds in Africa, and also in Asia from India to Indonesia. It is a resident breeder in wetlands with trees. The large stick nest is built in a forest tree, and 2-5 eggs form the typical clutch. This stork is usually silent, but indulges in mutual bill-clattering when adults meet at the nest.

    The Woolly-necked Stork is a broad winged soaring bird, which relies on moving between thermals of hot air for sustained long distance flight. Like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched.

    The Woolly-necked Stork is a large bird, typically 85 cm tall. It is all black except for the woolly white neck and white lower belly. The upperparts are glossed dark green, and the breast and belly have a purple hue. Juvenile birds are duller versions of the adult.

    The Woolly-necked Stork walks slowly and steadily on the ground seeking its prey, which like that of most of its relatives, consists of amphibians, small reptiles and large insects. African birds are attracted to bush fires.

    The bird derives its scientific species name from the black and white vestments formerly worn by clerics.
     
  • White Stork Ciconia ciconia
    The White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) is a large bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. Its plumage is mainly white, with black on its wings. Adults have long red legs and long pointed red beaks. The two subspecies, which differ slightly in size, breed in the warmer parts of Europe (north to Estonia), northwestern Africa, southwestern Asia (east to southern Kazakhstan), and southern Africa. It is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Africa from tropical Sub-Saharan Africa to as far south as South Africa, or on the Indian subcontinent. When migrating between Europe and Africa, they avoid crossing the Mediterranean Sea and detour via the Levant in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west, because air thermals on which they depend do not arise over water.

    A carnivore, the stork eats a wide range of animal prey, including insects, crayfish, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and small birds. It takes most of its food from the ground, among low vegetation, and from shallow water. It is a monogamous breeder, but does not pair for life. Both members of the pair build a large stick nest, which may be used for several years. Each year the female can lay one clutch of usually four eggs, which hatch asynchronously 33–34 days after being laid. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and both feed the young. The young leave the nest 58–64 days after hatching, and continue to be fed by the parents for a further 7–20 days.

    The White Stork is a large bird. It has a length from the tip of its beak to the tip of its tail of 100–115 cm, a wingspan of 195–215 cm, and a weight of 2.3–4.4 kg. Like all storks, it has long legs, a long neck, and a long, straight, pointed beak. Its plumage is mainly white with some black in the wings; the primaries, secondaries, primary coverts, greater upperwing coverts, scapulars, and alula are black.[15] The breast feathers are long and shaggy forming a ruff which is used in some courtship displays.[15] The irises are dull brown or grey, and the peri-orbital skin is black. The adult has a bright red beak and red legs. The sexes are identical in appearance, except that males are larger than females on average.

    As with other storks, the wings are long and broad enabling the bird to soar. In flapping flight its wingbeats are slow and regular. It flies with its neck stretched forward and with its long legs extended well beyond the end of its short tail. It walks at a slow and steady pace with its neck upstretched. In contrast, it often hunches its head between its shoulders when resting. Moulting has not been extensively studied, but appears to take place throughout the year, with the primary flight feathers replaced over the breeding season.

    The stork's preferred feeding grounds are grassy meadows, farmland and shallow wetlands. The storks have also been reported foraging in rubbish dumps in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Africa.
     
  • Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
    The Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) is a large wading bird in the stork family, Ciconiidae. It is a widespread species which is a resident breeder in sub-Saharan Africa from Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya south to South Africa, and in The Gambia, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and Chad in west Africa.

    This is a huge bird that regularly attains a height of 150 cm and a 270 cm wingspan. The male is larger and heavier than the female, with a range of 5.1-7.5 kg, the female is usually between 5 and 6.9 kg. It is probably the tallest, if not the heaviest, of the storks. Females are distinctly smaller than the males. The sexes can be readily distinguished by the golden yellow irises of the female and the brown irises of the male.

    It is spectacularly plumaged, identical in male and female. The head, neck, back, wings, and tail are iridescent black, with the rest of the body and the primary flight feathers being white. Juveniles are browner grey in plumage. The massive bill is red with a black band and a yellow frontal shield (the “saddle”). The legs and feet are black with pink knees. On the chest is a bare red patch of skin, whose colour darkens during breeding season.[1]

    They are silent except for bill-clattering at the nest. Like most storks, these fly with the neck outstretched, not retracted like a heron; in flight, the large heavy bill is kept drooping somewhat below belly height, giving these birds a very unusual appearance to those who see them for the first time (see here [2] for photo). To experienced birdwatchers on the other hand, this makes them easily recognizable even if seen from a distance. It has been suggested that due to the large size and unusual appearance in flight, this species is the basis for the "Big Bird" and Kongamato cryptids.

    The Saddle-billed Stork, like most of its relatives, feeds mainly on fish, frogs and crabs, but also on small birds and reptiles . They move in a deliberate and stately manner as they hunt, in a similar way to the larger herons.
     
  • Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus
    The Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara, occurring in both wet and arid habitats, often near human habitation, especially waste tips. It is sometimes called the "undertaker bird," due to its shape from behind: cloak-like wings and back, skinny white legs, and sometimes, a large white mass of "hair."

    A massive bird, large specimens are thought to reach a height of 150 cm, a weight of over 9 kg and have a wingspan of at least 3.5 m. In the last regard, it shares the distinction of having the largest wingspan of any landbird with the Andean Condor. More typically, these birds measure 120–140 cm, 225–285 cm across the wings, and weigh 4.5–8 kg. Unlike most storks, the three Leptoptilos species fly with the neck retracted like a heron.

    The Marabou is unmistakable due to its size, bare head and neck, black back, and white underparts. It has a huge bill, a pink gular sac at its throat, a neck ruff, and black legs and wings. The sexes are alike, but the young bird is browner and has a smaller bill. Full maturity is not reached for up to four years.

    Like most storks, the Marabou is gregarious and a colonial breeder. In the African dry season (when food is more readily available as the pools shrink) it builds a tree nest in which two or three eggs are laid.

    It also resembles other storks in that it is not very vocal, but indulges in bill-rattling courtship displays. The throat sac is also used to make various noises at that time.
   
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