Abdim's Stork Abdims Stork
Abdim's Stork

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Abdim's stork, white-bellied stork
Genus Species
Ciconia (stork) abdimii (past governor of Northern Sudan)

Fast Facts

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.
Height: Approximately 80 cm (36.3 in.)
Wing length: 40 to 47.5 cm (15.75 to 18.7 in.)
Bill length: 10.3 to 12.7 cm (4.05 to 5 in.)
Approximately 1.3 kg (2.86 lbs.)
Primary diet is insects including swarming locust, grasshoppers, and crickets. At times Abdim’s storks may also feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, crabs, scorpions, and molluscs
28 to 31 days; most storks nest colonially and most pair-bonds only last for a single breeding season
Clutch Size
2 to 4 eggs
Fledging Duration
60 to 65 days
Sexual Maturity
2 to 3 years
Life Span
Up to 20 years in the wild. In captivity the oldest known male is 31 years and 30 years for female
Sub-Saharan Africa; noticeably absent along the coastal areas of tropical West Africa
Primarily wading birds found around shallow water; can be found in open grasslands, pastures, areas of cultivation, ponds, and swamps; these birds often roost in trees or rock cliffs
Global: Exact population counts are unknown,but current population trends indicate population is declining
IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS:  Not listed

Fun Facts

This bird breeds north of the equator, but spends the rest of the year in eastern and southern parts of Africa.

Storks often defecate on their own legs in order to maintain their body temperature through the process of evaporative cooling.

Storks have little or no webbing between the toes and their tibia is bare of feathers.

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.

Abdim's storks are often seen in and around large swarms of locusts, gorging on the insects.

Ecology and Conservation

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.

Potential threats include habitat loss due to urban and agricultural development and loss of primary food sources (as in locusts) that may be eliminated by pesticides in order to protect crops.


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.



www.cites.org/eng/append/I and II_0700.shtml


BirdLife International (2018) Species factsheet: Ciconia abdimii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/09/2018.

BirdLife International. 2016. Ciconia abdimii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22697673A93629659. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22697673A93629659.en. Downloaded on 24 September 2018