Ciconia abdimii (Abdim's stork) 

Kleinswartooievaar [Afrikaans]; Endongondongo (generic term for dark-coloured storks) [Kwangali]; Lekololoane, Mokoroane, Roba-re-bese [South Sotho]; Shuramurove [Shona]; Lek˘l˘lwane, Mok˘tatsiŕ (these terms also applied to White stork) [Tswana]; abdimooievaar [Dutch]; Cigogne d'Abdim [French]; Abdimsstorch, Regenstorch [German]; Cegonha de Abdim [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Ciconiiformes > Family: Ciconiidae

Ciconia abdimii (Abdim's stork)  Ciconia abdimii (Abdim's stork) 

Abdim's stork, Tanzania. [photo Martin Goodey ę]

Abdim's storks, Kgalagadi National Park, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ę]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa. In southern Africa it is common to locally abundant in western Mozambique, Zimbabwe, northern and north-eastern South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. It generally prefers savanna woodland, grassland, pastures, pan edges, cultivated land and suburban areas.

Distribution of Abdim's stork in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (ę Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

Non-breeding visitor to southern Africa, departing from its northern breeding grounds in the period from May-August, eventually arriving in southern Africa at the onset of the rainy season in the period from October-December. It is nomadic in southern Africa, moving in response to food availability. It gathers in large flocks then departs in February, March and early April.


It mainly eats large insects, doing most of its foraging on pastures, irrigated land and recently ploughed fields, usually in groups which split up to cover more ground. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
    • insects
    • molluscs
    • crabs
  • Vertebrates
    • fish
    • frogs
    • lizards
    • snakes
    • carrion


Not threatened, although destruction of natural grassland habitat has caused it to become reliant on agricultural land.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



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