Abdim’s Storks

Abdim's Storks (Ciconia abdimii)

The Abdim’s Stork (Ciconia abdimii) is also known as the White-bellied Stork. Its name commemorates the Turkish Governor of Wadi Halfa in Sudan Bey El-Arnaut Abdim (1780-1827).

Abdim's Storks  (Ciconia abdimii)
Abdim’s Storks  (Ciconia abdimii)



Its range includes East Africa, from Ethiopia to South Africa. Its breeding territory extends from Senegal to the Red Sea, and it winters from Tanzania through most of southern Africa.

They are typically found near water – in open grasslands, pastures and savannah woodlands.

This species is widespread throughout its large range.


The Abdim’s Stork is the smallest of all storks but at an average length of 81 cm or 32 inches, it is still a very large bird. The female is slightly smaller than the male.

The plumage is mostly black except for the white underparts. It has grey long legs, red knees and feet, and a grey bill. It has red facial skin next to the eye and, during the breeding season, it has blue skin near the bill.

Abdim's Storks or White-bellied Storks
Abdim’s Storks or White-bellied Storks

Breeding / Nesting

Their large nests are typically built in trees, on cliffs or on roofs.

The average clutch consists of two to three eggs.

Both parents incubate the eggs and raise the young together.

Diet / Feeding

They get much of their food in or near water, such as frogs, mollusks, crabs, small fish and water rats.

Additionally, they feed on locusts, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and other large insects.

They also hunt and eat mice, lizards, millipedes, scorpions, and even small birds.

These storks usually hunt in large flocks.

Status / Conservation

This species is widespread and common throughout its large range.

It is locally protected by African belief as a harbinger of rain and good luck.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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