[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ciconiidae | [latin] Ciconia abdimii | [authority] Lichtenstein, 1823 | [UK] Abdims Stork | [FR] Cigogne d’Abdim | [DE] Abdimstorch | [ES] Ciguena de Abdim | [NL] Abdimooievaar
Storks are rather well represented in the world fossil record, although no comprehensive review of them has been attempted. The earliest records come from the Late Eocene of Egypt. After taxa incorrectly referred to this family were removed, the earliest named species became Palaeoephippiorhynchus dietrichi Lambrecht, 1930 (Late Oligocene; Egypt). The stork family (Ciconiidae) includes 17-19 species, depending upon which classification is followed. They are widely distributed, mainly in the Old World Tropics. Being large, conspicuous, and easily observed, storks are well known birds throughout their range. Several populations are threatened or endangered. The seven species of “typical” storks of the genus ciconia are all somewhat similar, with mainly black-and-white plumage and straight bills.
The Abdim’s or White-bellied Stork is the smallest species in the stork family. Like all storks, it has a long neck and long legs with a fairly large and broad wingspan for its size. The feathers on most of its body are a dark brown/black with a pink/purple irridescent hue. The feathers on the belly and under the tail are white. The wings of all storks are excellently suited to soaring. The tail is short and the legs stick out behind it in flight. The bill is large and pointed for its head size.
Listen to the sound of Abdims Stork
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
recorded by Pamela C. Rasmussen
Africa : Southeast. It is found in sub-Saharan Africa, and also in restricted range in SW Arabia.
The species frequents open grassland, pastures, areas of cultivation and savanna woodland, often near water but also in semi-arid areas, gathering beside pools, water-holes, wells and swamps when not feeding, and roosting on trees or cliffs.
It breeds in widely-scattered colonies, normally not exceeding 20 pairs (although groups of between 30 and 50 are recorded occasionally). The species breeds colonially, with nests being built from sticks and vegetation in trees or on cliffs, or on the roofs of huts in villages, and will often be used from year to year unless they collapse (although not necessarily by the same breeding pair). They usually lay a clutch of usually 2-3 eggs which are incubated for about a month. The chicks fledge at around 50-60 days.
The species is primarily insectivorous, its diet consisting almost entirely of large grassland insects such as swarming locusts, army worm Spodoptera exempta caterpillars, grasshoppers and crickets, although it will also take mice, frogs, lizards, small fish, molluscs, crabs, millipedes, scorpions, water rats and small birds
copyright: Josep del Hoyo
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Abdim’s Stork is common and locally abundant. This bird is protected by local superstitions and encouraged by inhabitants for nesting in villages.
Populations are stable.
This species is an intra-African trans-equatorial migrant, making seasonal movements to coincide with rainfall. After breeding in the wet season of the northern tropics (between May and August), it moves east then south (West African populations), or south (East African populations), through the equatorial rain-belt (September-October), and arrives in the southern tropics early in the southern wet season (November-March). It remains in this southern range until March (when the rains decrease), after which it moves north again through East Africa at the beginning of the long rains (March-April), arriving back in the breeding grounds in April and May before (or just as) the heavy rains begin. The species is gregarious and is rarely seen in groups of less than 10, often traveling in vast flocks of c.10000. On migration it lands daily to feed, both migrating and foraging diurnally.