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"