African Openbill Stork| Anastomus lamelligerus

The African Openbill is a prehistoric looking bird which is also known as the Openbill, Openbilled Stork and African Openbilled Stork.

African Openbill Stork Birding Information From Robert's

African Openbill Stork PhotographThe African Openbill is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Ciconiidae bird family group which includes birds such as Storks.

The description for the African Openbill (Latin name Anastomus lamelligerus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Anastomus lamelligerus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 87 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 618. You will find a picture of the African Openbill on page 593.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Openbilled Stork in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the African Openbill between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The African Openbill is known in Afrikaans as Oopbekooievaar.

The African Openbill has a height of 60 cms and weighs around 1100 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured brown. The Anastomus lamelligerus has a grey, black coloured throat, black legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is brown.

Legs are black.

Throat is grey, black.

Back is black.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult African Openbill Stork
Female Adult Same as above.
Juvenile Similar to the above.
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

This bird has long legs i.e. legs the length of which are out of proportion to the bird's body size. This can be a useful identification guide.

African Openbill Stork Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

African Openbill Stork Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The African Openbill is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 3 to 5 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The African Openbill is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.