Bio Facts: Stork, Abdim’s
Central to southern Africa except rain forest
Drier savanna and open grassland; also cultivated land and other open terrain.
Weight is 2 lbs. The length is 30 inches. Plumage is glossy black with white under-parts and rump.
In the wild, they eat insects, mice, frogs, and fish. In the Zoo, they are fed bird of prey mix, smelt and mice.
This is a common bird in Africa, usually seen in large flocks. The sexes are similar. The gestation period is 30-31 days. There are between 2-4 eggs. Fledging is at 50-60 days.
It is gregarious. The Abdim’s stork frequents towns and villages. They build nests made of sticks and grass in low baobab trees or on buildings. These same nests are used from year to year if they do not fall apart.
This stork is migratory. It flies well and is often seen soaring on the thermals in the atmosphere. It is usually silent except at breeding times.
The legs, beak, and neck are long for feeding purposes.
It is also called white-bellied stork.
In Thessaly (eastern Greece), storks were so valued that if a man killed one, he could be tried for murder.
African tribesmen know the Abdim’s stork as a harbinger of spring, because it arrives just before the rainy season.
The name stork has been in existence for thousands of years. A Scandinavian legend tells us that when Christ was on the cross, the stork flew around crying, “styrket, styrket” – “Strengthen ye.” The origin of the name is probably from the word stark, meaning strong, a description of the rigid posture of storks.
On Tenos, an island in the Aegean Sea, tradition has it that Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, sent the stork to clear the island of snakes.
If a stork builds a nest on top of a building, it will be protected from fire. If someone steals the nest, the building will burn down.
Storks are a symbol of good luck in some countries. It is believed that they cry human tears when injured, and young storks take care of their parents when they are elderly.
The Abdim’s stork is beneficial to humans because of its diet of pest insects.
Jacksonville Zoo History:
The first Abdim’s storks arrived here in December 1980. This species has successfully bred here.