Abdim's Stork

Abdim's Stork



COMMON NAME: Abdim's stork, white-bellied stork
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
ORDER: Ciconiiformes [herons, bitterns, hammerkops, storks, ibises, spoonbills, flamingos]
FAMILY: Ciconiidae [storks - 19 species]
GENUS SPECIES: Ciconia (stork) abdimii (past governor of Northern Sudan)


DESCRIPTION: Medium-sized stork with glossy, black body except for white chest. Additionally, slight white streak extends along the upper edge of the wing. Legs are a dull gray to dull red. Face is bare and primarily blue with red patches of bare skin in front of the eye and on the throat. The feet and ankles tend to be pink or red in color.
SIZE: Height = approximately 80 cm (36.36 in)
Wing length = 40-47.5 cm (15.75-18.70 in.)
Bill length = 10.3-12.7 cm (4.05-5.00 in.)
WEIGHT: Approximately 1.3 kg (2.86 lbs.)
DIET: Highlycarnivorous birds; will feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, and even carrion
INCUBATION: 30-33 days; most storks nest colonially and most pair-bonds only last for a single breeding season
CLUTCH SIZE 2-5 eggs
LIFE SPAN: Up to 20 years
RANGE: Sub-Saharan Africa; noticeably absent along the coastal areas of tropical West Africa
HABITAT: Primarily wading birds found around shallow water; can be found in grasslands, ponds, and swamps; these birds often roost in trees or rock cliffs
POPULATION: GLOBAL Exact population counts are unknown, but these highly gregarious birds have been seen in flocks numbering in the hundreds
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed


1. This bird breeds north of the equator, but spends the rest of the year in eastern and southern parts of Africa.
2. Storks often defecate on their own legs in order to maintain their body temperature through the process of evaporative cooling.
3. Storks have little or no webbing between the toes and their tibia is bare of feathers.
4. This bird is rarely seen in groups of less than ten birds. They are sometimes spotted in huge flocks of up to 10,000 individuals.
5. Abdim's storks are often seen in and around large swarms of locusts, gorging on the insects.


As with many storks and vultures, Abdim's storks are known to feed on carrion. They also break through thick hides of large, deceased mammals with their powerful beak. This helps to speed up the decomposition process and allows weaker scavengers to gain access to the carcass. In addition, they are important predators, frequently seen standing on termite mounds ingesting swarming insects. In turn, these birds may become prey for large carnivores.

Abdim's storks have little fear of humans and are not usually in danger from hunting because of a local superstition that they are "bringers of rain." Other local traditions include building nests for the birds on rooftops hoping the storks will bring good luck.


Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, Dorst: Blandford Press, 1981.

Perrins, Dr. Christopher. Birds: Their Life , Their Ways, Their World. New York: The Reader's Digest Association Inc., 1979.

Perrins, Dr. Christopher M. and Dr. Alex L.A. Middleton, eds. The Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Facts on File Pub., 1985.

Perrins, Dr. Christopher M. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds: The Definitive Reference to Birds of the World. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1990.



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