Today we continue our 2023 Birdorable Bonanza with the introduction of a unique species of stork found in parts of Africa. It's the African Openbill!

The African Openbill is certainly most notable for its namesake bill, which features a gap -- even when closed! This specialized beak is not merely a curious physical trait but a critical adaptation for its feeding habits. The African Openbill primarily feeds on aquatic snails and mollusks, skillfully using its gap-toothed bill to extract these creatures from their hard shells.

The African Openbill is one of about 20 (depending on the recognized taxonomy authority) species of stork in the world, and one of only two types with an open bill; the Asian Openbill is its closest relative.

African Openbill at Kruger National Park in South Africa

Cute African Openbill gifts

Guess tomorrow's bird ...

Get ready to meet our mystery bird for tomorrow! This tiny wonder is famous for its striking appearance, boasting an incredibly long and ornate tail that's truly marvelous.  Tomorrow, we'll unveil this avian gem and its mesmerizing features. Can you guess what bird it might be?

Birdorable Abdim's Stork

We're excited to welcome the Abdim's Stork to the Birdorable family! This charming bird holds the title of being the world's smallest species of stork, and its diminutive size is just one of the many fascinating facts about this feathered friend.

Abdim's Storks are known for their striking appearance. Their plumage boasts a dark and iridescent sheen that sets them apart from their larger stork relatives. During the breeding season, these elegant birds undergo a captivating transformation. The bare patch of skin on their faces changes color, turning a vibrant shade of blue. It's a beautiful sight that signals their readiness for the breeding season.

These storks are not only visually appealing but also highly migratory. They embark on impressive journeys across the skies, covering vast distances during their annual migrations. While they call sub-Saharan Africa home during their breeding season, their travels take them as far south as South Africa during the non-breeding season.

Keep an eye out for these marvelous birds as they grace the African skies with their presence.

Abdim's Stork photo
Abdim's Stork by Bernard DUPONT (CC BY-SA 2.0)

We hope you enjoy getting to know the Abdim's Stork, our latest addition to the Birdorable family. Stay tuned for more captivating bird species coming your way!

Tomorrow we'll add a new species of penguin to Birdorable! This penguin is the only species found north of the equator. Can you guess the species?

Cute Abdim's Stork Gifts

Birdorable Storm's Stork

Today we introduce a rare species of stork: Storm’s Stork.

Storm’s Stork is a species found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. They live in tropical forest habitat, where they feed on fish, frogs, and other aquatic prey. Unfortunately this species is considered to be the most endangered stork on the earth. They face habitat loss due to deforestation across their range.

Storm's Storks are named after a German explorer and zoological collector named Theodor "Hugo" Storm. Captain Storm was under contract with the natural history museum in Luebeck Germany to collect wild animals and specimens. The species was first described for western science by the German ornithologist August Wilhelm Heinrich Blasius.

Tomorrow’s new species is a New World songbird named for the color of its eyes. If we tell you they are neither Dark nor Red, you should be able to guess! Do you know the bird?

Cute Birdorable Jabiru

Today we introduce Birdorable's version of South America's tallest flying bird: the Jabiru, a species of stork.

Jabiru have an all-white plumage. The head and neck are black and featherless. Another distinguishing feature is a red pouch at the base of the neck. Males and females look alike, though males may be up to 25% larger than females.

Jabiru are found in wetland habitat across parts of Central and South America. They feed on a variety of prey items, including fish, mollusks, and amphibians, generally foraged in shallow water.

Tomorrow's new bird is a member of the puffin family, named for a plumage feature that occurs during part of the year. Do you know this bird?

Facts About Wood Storks

Birdorable Wood Stork

There are 19 species of stork in the world. These birds are generally heavy and tall, with long, thick bills.

The Wood Stork is one of three New World species of stork (the others are the Maguari Stork and the Jabiru). The range of the Wood Stork extends the furthest north of these three species. Here are some interesting facts about this unique species.

Carnivores

Wood Storks frequently feed in and around water, where they find prey items like fish, frogs, and even small alligators. They will also eat insects, crabs, and other small animals. Wood Storks find food by feeling around with their bill in shallow water. They may use their feet to stir up potenial prey as they slowly move through the water.

Longevity

In the wild, it is believed that Wood Storks reach an average age of 11-18 years. From banding records, we know that the oldest wild bird lived at least 22 years and 4 months. The oldest captive Wood Stork lived to be just over 27 years of age.

Collective Noun

A group of storks is known as a "muster". A group of storks in flight is called a "phalanx". Have you ever seen a muster or phalanx of Wood Storks?

A group of Wood Storks in flight

Population Status

The Wood Stork has a large natural range, covering much of South America, coastal Central America, and extreme southern parts of North America. The international IUCN considers the Wood Stork's population threats to be of Least Concern. In the United States, however, loss and degradation of habitat cause its status to be considered Threatened.

Name Games

The Wood Stork superficially resembles an adult White Ibis and was formerly known as the Wood Ibis. This iconic bird has some interesting local nicknames, including Preacher, Ironhead, and Flinthead.

Do Wood Storks Deliver Babies?

No, you're thinking of White Storks.

The Wood Stork was added to Birdorable on Feburary 22, 2017.

Cute Wood Stork Gifts

Birdorable Painted Stork

Today's new Bonanza bird is a species of stork found in parts of Asia: the Painted Stork!

Painted Storks live in wetlands across most of India, as well as coastal areas around parts of southeast Asia. Painted Storks remain on their territory all year and don't migrate seasonally.

Painted Storks are named for their plumage. Specifically, the pink tipped wing feathers (tertials) that hang over their backs and rumps gives them the name Painted Stork. These pretty birds can also be recognized by their heavy yellow beaks that curve downwards.

Painted Storks feed on small fish. They hunt by sweeping their partially opened beaks through shallow water; prey is detected by touch.

Painted Stork Photo
Photo by shankar s. (CC BY 2.0)



Tomorrow's new bird is native to parts of South America but is established in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere in the world. Can you guess the species?

Birdorable Shoebill

For 19 days we're adding a new Birdorable bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza 2011. We're counting up to revealing our 350th species! Today's bird is the Shoebill.

Shoebill stork
Shoebill stork by belgianchocolate

The Shoebill is a remarkable-looking bird with an amazingly huge shoe-shaped bill. These large birds measure up to 59 inches (150 cm) tall and their bills average 12 inches (30 cm) in length, giving it the largest bill of all bird species! The edges of this large bill are very sharp, allowing the Shoebill to cut up its food before swallowing it. They feed mainly on aquatic animals like baby crocodiles and fish. Shoebills live in parts of east Africa, with most individuals living in the Sudan, and are considered vulnerable, mainly due to habitat loss.

Birdorable Shoebill Products

Tomorrow's bird is the largest 'true bird of prey' in the world. It breeds in high mountains and large forests across southern Europe and Asia. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Bonanza Preview
8 Birdorable Milky Storks

On the eighth day of Birdorable, the gift was truly unique... 8 Milky Storks! Our festive 12 Days of Birdorable journey unfolds further with the introduction of a fascinating new member of the bird kingdom, the Milky Stork, from the diverse stork family.

In a creative twist on the traditional "Eight Maids-a-Milking" from the timeless "The 12 Days of Christmas" carol, we celebrate the Milky Stork, a name that playfully nods to the original verse while steering our holiday focus back to the avian world. Historically, the task of milking dairy cows was often seen as "women's work," a role deeply rooted in pastoral life. However, in the spirit of Birdorable, where every day is an opportunity to honor our feathered friends, we've opted for a bird that brings its own brand of "milky" magic to the mix.

The Milky Stork, with its striking white plumage contrasted by black flight feathers and a distinct pinkish bill, is a sight to behold. This bird, primarily found in coastal and wetland areas of Southeast Asia, embodies the elegance and grace that storks are known for. Though it shares its habitat with other stork species, the Milky Stork stands out due to its unique coloration and the serene beauty it adds to its surroundings.

This is the eighth day of our 12 Days of Birdorable holiday event. Previously featured were:

Cute Milky Stork Gifts

Our highlighted t-shirts this week feature our Birdorable White Stork in It's a Boy and It's a Girl designs, shown here on our maternity tees. Both designs are available on the chest and belly area and on white, pink or black shirts. Click here to view all Birdorable Stork maternity shirts. Our 100% cotton mid-weight jersey maternity tee is super soft and comfortable.

Birdorable Stork - It's a Boy / It's a Girl on maternity shirts
Birdorable Marabou Stork

The Marabou Stork is one of those birds that might not win any beauty contests but is absolutely fascinating in terms of behavior, adaptation, and sheer size. With the largest wingspan tied with the Andean Condor, reaching an impressive 10.5 feet, it's a sight that can leave anyone in awe. These birds, found throughout tropical Africa south of the Sahara Desert, have an intriguing presence that's hard to ignore.

What makes the Marabou Stork stand out, aside from its massive wingspan, is its peculiar appearance. They have a mostly bald head, which can be an unusual sight compared to the more feathery heads of other birds. Additionally, they sport two inflatable air sacs around their neck, which adds to their unique look. This appearance is perfectly suited to their lifestyle and habitat.

The Marabou Stork is a master of adaptation. They thrive in close proximity to humans, a trait not common among many species. This adaptability has led to an increase in their population in some areas, as they make the most out of the opportunities provided by human activities. Their diet further shows their adaptability. Needing to consume more than 1.6 pounds (0.725 kilograms) of food daily, they are not picky eaters. These birds are scavengers, eating anything they can find or catch, including the animals fleeing from grass fires. This opportunistic feeding strategy might seem a bit unscrupulous, but it's a brilliant display of adaptability and survival.

Marabou Storks near Ndutu Lodge, Serengeti, by Christoph Strässler (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

Witnessing a Marabou Stork in flight is an unforgettable experience. On a personal note, seeing one soar overhead during our trip to The Gambia was a magnificent moment. Despite their less-than-cuddly appearance, the grace with which they navigate the air is truly a spectacle. Their enormous wingspan allows them to glide effortlessly, a remarkable sight against the backdrop of Africa's skies.

Their relationship with humans is notably ambivalent. On one hand, their ability to adapt to human environments means they can thrive in areas where other species might struggle. On the other hand, this closeness brings them into conflict with people, especially in urban areas where they are often considered pests due to their scavenging nature.

Conservation-wise, the Marabou Stork is doing relatively well compared to other bird species. Their adaptability and broad diet mean they are less susceptible to the threats of habitat loss and climate change that menace many other birds. However, this does not mean they are without challenges. Pollution, particularly plastic waste, poses a significant threat to these birds, as it does to all wildlife that relies on scavenging. The Marabou Stork is a bird that embodies the concept of survival against the odds. Its ability to adapt to various environments, coupled with its unique appearance and behaviors, makes it a fascinating subject of study and observation. 

Watch this fascinating video of Marabou Storks toying with a fish, only for an African Fish Eagle to suddenly swoop in and snatch it away. A reminder not to play with your food:

Cute Marabou Stork Gifts