African Openbill

About the African Openbill
Also known as: African Openbill Stork, Openbill, Openbilled Stork

The African Openbill is a medium-sized stork, predominantly dark in color with a glossy greenish or purple sheen. Juvenile birds are more brownish in hue, acquiring the adult coloration as they mature. They are native to wetland habitats in sub-Saharan Africa.

The African Openbill is most notable for its distinctive bill, from which it gets its name. Unlike most birds, the African Openbill's bill has a gap or 'open' space when it is closed. This adaptation is perfectly suited to its diet, which primarily consists of aquatic snails and mollusks. They skillfully extract meat from the shells using their uniquely shaped bill. This specialized feeding technique highlights the bird's evolutionary adaptation to its environment.

An interesting aspect of the African Openbill is its social behavior, especially during the breeding season. While they are typically silent outside of breeding, during mating season they utter loud honks in their social breeding colonies. Couples engage in bill-clattering during copulation (as the shape of the bill prohibits them from self-clattering the bills!).

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Discovering the African Openbill: A Stork's Unique Approach to Feeding

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...  Read more »