Long-Legged WADERS of Africa

The long-legged waders are comprised of the egrets, herons, ibises, spoonbills, storks, and flamingos. They are a diverse group, united by their long legs that enable them to wade for food.


Order Ciconiiformes    Family Ciconiidae

Stocks have large and heavy bills. Their nests are also very large and used year after year. They are mute, but clack their bills as a means of communication, especially at or near the nest. They eat insects, worms, fish, and small mammals. They are related to egrets, herons, ibises, and spoonbills, but not to falmingos.

Genus Anastomus
The Openbills are large wading birds characterized by large bills, the mandibles of which do not meet except at the tip. The cutting edges of the mandible have a fine brush like structure that is thought to give them better grip on the shells. This feature develops only in the adults.

Stork, African Openbill also African Openbill  Anastomus lamelligerus  Found: Africa
Image by:  1, 2) Dick Daniels - San Diego Zoo   3) Sandy Cole - San Diego Zoo  4) Charlie Westerinen

Genus Ciconia
These are large storks, typically 100 cm tall, with a 180 cm wingspan and a long thick bill. Ciconia storks are gregarious and colonial breeders, and pairs stay together for life. They typically build large stick nests in trees. These storks feed on frogs, insects, young birds, lizards and rodents.

Stork, Abdim's  Ciconia abdimii  Found: Africa
The Abdim's Stork has black upperparts, head, neck, upper-breast; white lower-breast, belly; gray legs, bill; red knees and feet; . In breeding season it has red skin in front of eyes; blue skin near the bill. It is the smallest stork.
Image by: 1) Christiaan Kooyman - Niger  2) Ian White  - Zambia    3) Dick Daniels - San Diego Zoo  4) Sandy Cole - Sylvan Heights  5) Dick - Sylvan Heights

Stork, Black  Ciconia nigra  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia
The Black Stork has mainly black plumage; white lower-breast, belly, under-tail coverts; red bill, legs, skin around the eyes.
Similar to: Black-necked Stork. The Black Stork has black back; red bill. Black-necked Stork has white back, black bill.
Image by: 1) Trisha Shears - the Louisville Zoo  2) Sergey Pisarevskiy - Russia    3) Cristiano Crolle - Racconigi, Italy  4) JV Verde - Portugal   

Stork, White Ciconia ciconia   Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The White Stork has mainly white plumage; black wings; red legs, bill.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - South Africa   2) Sandy Cole - San Diego Zoo      3) Cristiano Crolle - Racconigi, Italy  4)  Erik Lecaroubuier - France  5, 6) JV Verde - Portugal

Stork, Woolly also Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus   Found: Asia, Africa
The Woolly Stork has mainly glossy blackish-green plumage; black crown of variable size; white neck, lower-belly; red legs.
Image by: 1, 2) Dick Daniels - South Africa,   3) Kaippally  4) Ian White - South Africa  5)   Dave Curtis - Kenya   6 Lip Kee - Botswana

Genus Ephippiorhynchus
Two species of very large storks, both with impressive bills.

Stork, Saddle-billed Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis   Found: Africa
The Saddle-billed Stork has iridescent black head, neck, back, wings, tail; white rest of plumage; massive bill with yellow frontal shield - black band - red band; black legs with pink knees.
Image by: 1, 3) Arno Meintjes   2) Steve Garvie 4) Charlie Westerinen - Zimbabwe  5) Dick Daniels - Tanzania  

Genus Leptoptilos
The three species each have a black upper body and wings, and white belly and undertail. The head and neck are bare like those of a vulture. The huge bill is long and thick. Juveniles are a duller, browner version of the adult.

Stork, Marabou Leptoptilos crumeniferus   Found: Africa
The Marabou Stork has black upperparts; white underparts; bare head, neck; pink throat sack; huge bill.
Image by 1) Arno Meintjes  2, 4, 5, 6)  Dick Daniels - Tanzania   3)  Dick - Tanzania   7, 8) Dick - Kenya

Genus Mycteria
The Mycteria storks are large birds, typically around 90–100 cm in length with a 150 cm wingspan. The body plumage is mainly white in all the species, with black in the flight feathers of the wings.

Stork, Yellow-billed Mycteria ibis   Found: Africa
The Yellow-billed Stork has mainly pinkish-white plumage; orange face; yellow bill; black wings, tail. Juvenile has grayish-brown plumage, bill; dull orange face; brownish legs.
Image by:  1, 7) Dick Daniels - Kenya   2, 3) Dick - the Jacksonville Zoo - Florida  4) Dick - San Diego Zoo    5) Dick - Tanzania   6) S. Shankar - Kenya
1) Juvenile  3) Storks kneel with their feet forward

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