Abdim's Stork
(White-bellied Stork)

Ciconia Abdimii

ORDER: Ciconiiformes
FAMILY: Ciconiidae

Smaller stork species; wing length 42-27 cm


Marshes, savannas, and fields

Wild - fish, insects, locusts, worms, larvae
Zoo - fish, dog food, meat, crickets


  • Resembles the black stork in plumage, but has a white lower back
  • White lower tail coverts are rigid and as long as the tail
  • Large to very large wading birds with long legs, long bills, a stately upright stance and striding gait
  • Long, broad wings and are strong fliers; bills are long and heavy
  • Males are noticeably larger than females; sexes look similar
  • Air sacs lie under the neck skin


  • Call consists of a series of peeps
  • Most storks fly with necks outstretched; most alternate flapping with soaring in warm air currents (thermals).
  • They can engage in remarkable aerobatics, such as diving, plummeting from the sky and flipping over in flight
  • Most storks feed alone but also will form large flocks when food is abundant; by soaring, storks can forage long distances from their colonies and roosts


    This species likes to nest near native settlements; they are welcomed by the natives as "rain bringers" because they arrive with the spring rain
  • Flocks move toward South Africa in migration
  • Most nest in trees, but they also use cliffs or nest on ground
  • Nests are situated near sites providing suitable food supplies
  • The nest site, selected by the male, is defended against all intruders
  • Male gives advertisement displays (up and down movements, calls and bill clattering), and the attracted female responds with appeasement behavior.
  • From large breeding colonies; 65 nests have been spotted in one tree
  • Usually 3-5 eggs; incubation period 30-50 days

"The Encyclopedia of Birds," Edited by Perrins and Middleton
"Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia"