Yellow-billed stork

Yellow-billed stork
Mycteria ibis

Photo by Arthur Morris (Birds as Art)

Common name:
yellow-billed stork (en); cegonha-de-bico-amarelo (pt); tantale ibis (fr); tántalo africano (es); nimmersatt (de)

Order Ciconiiformes
Family Ciconiidae

This species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, from southern Mauritania and Mali to Sudan and Ethiopia and south to Namibia, Botswana and eastern South Africa. It is also found in north-western Madagascar.

These birds are 90-105 cm long and have a wingspan of 150-165 cm. They weigh 1,9-2,3 g.

The yellow-billed stork is shallow wetlands with sandbanks or trees for roosting, including swamps, the margins or river, lakes and lagoons, marshes, flooded grasslands, alkaline lakes, reservoirs, rice fields, and occasionally in estuaries, mudflats and beaches.

They hunt small aquatic animals, including fishes, frogs, aquatic insects, worms, crustaceans and more rarely small mammals and birds.

Yellow-billed storks are monogamous and nest in colonies of 10-50 pairs, often alongside ibises, herons, spoonbills, other storks and cormorants. The nest is built by both sexes and consists of a large platform made of sticks and lined with fine leaves, grasses and reeds. It is placed on top of a tree, often an Acacia, water fig Ficus verruculosa or baobab Adansonia digitata, 3-7 m above the ground or water. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents for about 30 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 55-60 days after hatching, becoming fully independent 1 month later.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range. Although there is no reliable information on population sizes and trends, overall the yellow-billed stork is believed to be declining due to wetland disturbance and destruction.

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