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African Openbill

Anastomus lamelligerus

The African Openbill is a medium, long-legged wading bird with a long bill which has a distinctive gap between the upper and lower parts of the bill. This stork’s preferred diet is aquatic snails, and this gap allows them to grip the shell; but they also eat frogs, fish, worms, and insects.

African Openbill Storks are widely distributed throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and the western regions of Madagascar, where they live in freshwater wetlands and streams that have tall trees nearby for nesting.

Did you know: African Openbill Storks may appear to be black in colour, but if you look closely their feathers have a beautiful iridescent green, blue and purple sheen.


Although the current population trend is stable the African Openbill is threatened by habitat loss and pesticides used to kill mosquitoes. The species is also hunted for traditional medicine in Nigeria and has suffered in Madagascar due to destruction of colonies by villagers.

80-94 cm
135-150 cm
1.0-1.3 kg
Eggs per nest
Africa, south of the Sahara (except in the extreme south) and western Madagascar.
Conservation status
Least Concern
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