Abdim’s storks live in east Africa, from Ethiopia to South Africa. They are found in open grasslands, pastures, and Savannah woodlands, usually near water. To see them, head over to the African Journey at the Maryland Zoo.
Abdim’s storks migrate seasonally within their home range, crossing the equator to coincide with rainfall. They are loud and social birds that live in groups of at least 10 and sometimes in flocks that number in the thousands! They roost in trees and on cliffs. Like all storks, they are long-legged wading birds that get much of their food from the water, but Abdim’s storks also eat plenty of insects. They eat locusts, caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, and other large insects, and will also hunt and eat mice, frogs, lizards, small fish, mollusks, crabs, millipedes, scorpions, water rats, and small birds. They often hunt together in large flocks, particularly in the vicinity of grass fires and locust swarms.
Abdim’s storks are protected and generally welcomed throughout their home range because of local belief that they are harbingers of rain and good luck.
Presumably all species of African stork, including Abdim’s, are vulnerable to predators, although there is little source material that specifically discusses this. Large eagles and vultures may prey upon storks, and people continue to hunt them.
Abdim’s storks breed in colonies. They build large nests in trees, on cliffs, and on the roofs of village huts. The same nests will be used from year to year until they collapse, although not necessarily by the same nesting pair. Females lay 2-3 eggs per clutch. The parents take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks once they’ve hatched.
Abdim’s storks are widespread and common throughout their home range.