Posted by: atowhee | December 9, 2010

Stork Reality

This photo taken along the shore of thre Kazinga Channel, just north of Lake Edward, shows dense gathering of birds on the beach.  My wife, Kate, took this pictures as we boated past.  The birds were unimpressed.

That large dark stork in the foreground is a Saddle-billed Stork.  The shorter white storks with black white edges are Yellow-billed Storks.  Also in the photo: Little Egret, Long-tailed Cormorant and Egyptian Geese.

Even taller than the Saddle-bill, is the Marabou Stork.  Here’s a trio of five-footers, standing around stork naked in the veldt.

In many towns and cities the Marabous are abundant.  They have learned that scavenging human leavings is sometimes easier than gathering wild food.

Storks are predators, eating almost anything they can tweezer with that beak.  There are 19 stork species in the world and only the Wood Stork is regularly seen in the U.S.

A modestly sized stork is the Abdim’s, often seen in small flocks like this.  They’re less than three-feet tall.*

Most unusual were the Open-billed Stork, whose beak looks warped.  When it’s closed there’s still an opening during the middle part of the beak.  They were especially abundant around Lake Victoria at Entebbe.

As large as Africa’s living storks may be, there was once a stork that stood more than six feet tall.  Read this.

* The Abdim’s Stork is named for Bey El-Arnaut Abdim, a Turkish governor in the Sudan in the early 19th Century.  There he aided naturalist and collector Wilhelm Ruppell from Frankfurt.  Ruppell collected the first described Abdim’s Stork specimen in the Sudan and named it for his benefactor.

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