Bird Families

The most interesting facts and data about storks

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Study history

The African razinya stork (Latin Anastomus lamelligerus) is a bird from the stork family.

Spread

The nominal form (A. l. Lamelligerus) breeds in tropical sub-Saharan Africa and north of the Southern Tropic, subspecies (A. l. Madagaskarensis) in western Madagascar.

Appearance

This bird has an absolutely black plumage with a greenish and purple tint. The structure of its long beak is unique. The upper and lower beak are flattened and touch only at the end and at the base, creating a gap in the middle. With a closed beak, this is clearly visible, hence the name of these storks. The African Razin stork reaches a length of 80 to 94 cm and a weight of 1 to 1.3 kg. Males are larger. With a closed beak, a gap of about 6 mm remains in the middle between the beak and the beak.

Reproduction

The nesting period begins more often at the end of the rainy season, when the range of food is optimal, it can, however, begin at the beginning or shortly before it. Birds build their nests in groups in trees, more often above water or above marshes. Small in size (only 50 cm in diameter) for storks, the nest is built from branches and reeds. Usually there are 3 to 4 eggs in clutch, minimum 2 and maximum 5 eggs, which hatch from 25 to 30 days. The chicks have black downy plumage and normally folded beaks. They leave the nest in 50-55 days.

Lifestyle

The African Razin stork lives in wet areas, in swamps, along the shores of lakes and rivers, in flooded areas and in wet savannas.

Food

It feeds primarily on large aquatic snails (apple snails, Ampullariidae), as well as bivalves, gastropods, frogs, crabs, worms, fish and insects. The African rascal stork often keeps close to hippos, which, by loosening the coast, help in finding food.

Description

Like another member of the genus Anastomus lamelligerus, the gongal, the African ruffian stork has a unique beak with a gap between the beak and mandible, well adapted to the feeding behavior of both species. These storks mainly feed on large aquatic snails, and such an unusual beak is useful for extracting molluscs from the shell. The average height of the African rat stork ranges from 80-94 cm, and the weight is 1-1.3 kg.

Males are usually larger than females. The plumage is black and has a glossy green, brown or purple tint on the chest. The beak is large, with a brownish tint. The gap between the mandible and mandible is about 5-6 mm. On an almost straight beak, there are several small columnar blocks (about 20-30) that help the bird to remove the molluscs from the shell. The eyes are gray and the legs are dark.

Origin of the species and description

The stork family consists of several genera in three main groups: arboreal storks, giant storks and "typical storks". Typical storks include the white stork and six other existing species. Within the genus Ciconia, the closest relatives of the black stork are other European species + the white stork and its former subspecies, the eastern white stork in eastern Asia with a black beak.

English naturalist Francis Willugby described the first black stork in the 17th century after seeing it in Frankfurt. He named the bird Ciconia nigra, from the Latin words for stork and black, respectively. It is one of many species originally described by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in the landmark Sistema Naturae, which gave the bird the binomial name Ardea nigra. Two years later, the French zoologist Jacques Brisson transferred the black stork to the new genus Ciconia.

The black stork is a member of the genus Ciconia, or typical storks. It is a group of seven extant species characterized by straight beaks and predominantly black and white plumage.For a long time, it was believed that the black stork is closely related to the white stork (C. ciconia). However, genetic analysis using hybridization of DNA and mitochondrial DNA of cytochrome b, performed by Beth Slikas, showed that the black stork was much earlier branched in the genus Ciconia. The fossil remains were recovered from the Miocene layer on the Rusinga and Maboko islands in Kenya, which are indistinguishable from white and black storks.

Reproduction

Reproduction occurs during the rainy season, from August to May, with a peak in January-March. African Razin storks form colonies with different numbers of pairs. They nest in trees, usually above water, and sometimes in reeds. This medium-sized bird builds a relatively small nest about 50 cm wide. Twigs and reeds serve as building materials for the nest, and the litter consists of aquatic vegetation, sedges, grass and leaves.

The female lays 3-4 oval, chalky white eggs. Throughout the entire incubation period, about 25-30 days, both sexes alternately incubate the clutch. At hatching, the chicks have a dark fluff and a beak with a gap, like in adult African storks. The gap gradually increases over several years. Independence from parents begins about 50-55 days after hatching, when plumage is fully formed.

Indian downy stork

A relative of our storks is the Indian downy stork (Ciconia episcopus), which lives, in addition to Eastern India, also in Western India and on the Indian islands. It is much smaller in size than our white stork, and is dressed in black plumage with a copper sheen. Its tail and rump, however, are white, and its neck is covered with short and soft white feathers like down.

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It differs from the African down stork mainly in that the entire upper part of its head is black.

Behavior and nutrition

The African Razin Stork mainly feeds on snails, but it also does not pass by freshwater mussels. Depending on the range, especially in Uganda, they eat not only land snails, but also frogs, crabs, fish, worms, large insects.

Their beak is adapted to the peculiarities of feeding behavior. The stork detects the snail through sight and touch, and then grabs it with its beak. After which, he inserts the tip of the mandible sheath to cut the muscle and extract the mollusc.

The breeding season of African rat storks teaches at the beginning or end of the rainy season, when snails are abundant. During the nesting period, storks carry snails to their nests to feed their chicks. In large colonies, clumps of snail shells are often formed under the trees.

Food

Despite their beauty, storks are very dangerous for many living creatures, because they are birds of prey. Frogs are considered their biggest delicacy. Like a heron, a bird similar to a stork even in appearance, they feed on many creatures living in reservoirs, catching them in shallow water. They love fish very much.

Their varied diet also includes shellfish. In addition, storks love to feast on large insects; on land they catch lizards and snakes, even poisonous snakes. It is curious that these birds pose a serious threat to small mammals such as ground squirrels, moles, mice, and rats. All of these are also included in their diet.

Storks can even eat rabbits. These birds are extremely skilled hunters. It is important to walk back and forth on their long legs, they do not just stroll, but hunt down the desired prey. When the victim appears in their field of vision, the birds with liveliness and dexterity run up to it and grab it with their strong long beak.

Despite their beauty, storks are very dangerous for many living creatures, because they are birds of prey. Frogs are considered their biggest delicacy.Like a heron, a bird similar to a stork even in appearance, they feed on many creatures living in reservoirs, catching them in shallow water.

They love fish very much. Their varied diet also includes shellfish. In addition, storks love to feast on large insects; on land they catch lizards and snakes, even poisonous snakes. It is curious that these birds pose a serious threat to small mammals such as ground squirrels, moles, mice, and rats.

All of these are also included in their diet. Storks can even eat rabbits.

These birds are extremely skilled hunters. It is important to walk back and forth on their long legs, they do not just stroll, but hunt down the desired prey. When the victim appears in their field of vision, the birds with liveliness and dexterity run up to it and grab it with their strong long beak.

Such birds feed their young by half-digested belching, and when the offspring grows up a little, parents throw earthworms directly into their mouths.

Fish and frogs are storks' favorite treats

Conservation status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the African Razin stork is classified as a species of least concern.

The main threat to this species comes from habitat loss and pesticide contamination of nesting sites used to eradicate mosquitoes. Razin storks suffer from hunting and poaching for trade in the markets of Nigeria.

Subspecies "A.l. madagascariensis "is widespread in Madagascar, but in recent years, due to the destruction of bird colonies by villagers, there has been a decrease in the population of storks.

Belarusian storks winter in South Africa

Igor SHEVCHUK

In 2005, the Sixth International Census of the White Stork, which is being held under the auspices of BirdLife International, is completed in all countries of Europe, Asia and Africa where this bird lives.

According to the preliminary results of the census, 18 thousand pairs of white storks nest in Belarus. Ten years ago, there were about 13 thousand pairs of these birds in our country.

- This is not due to an increase in the number of white storks, but to an improvement in the quality of its registration

, - says a researcher at the Institute of Zoology of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
Irina Samusenko
. —
According to the old method, we underestimated about 40% of storks. This time, with the help of volunteers who entered the results of their observations of the white stork in special questionnaires, we managed to obtain more objective data.
- Where do storks fly from Belarus to winter?

- Storks are our farthest migrants. For the winter, they fly to South Africa, covering a distance of 9.5 thousand kilometers. Storks fly not over the open sea, but through the straits. For the winter, they stop in the Sahara region. One of our ringed storks spent two years in a row wintering in South Africa in the same place, near a farm. In addition to storks, long-distance migrants include swallows, waders, starlings. They all winter in Africa. Ducks and waders winter mainly in Western Europe. Rooks moved from the category of migratory to nomadic. They just move a little further south - for example, to Ukraine. Small birds often fly much farther than large ones. For example, a fragile swallow travels a much greater distance than a healthy goose. And not always the male and the female fly to the wintering place together.

- What determines the timing of the birds' departure?

- From whether they have nested and how far to fly. For example, turukhan flies at the end of June. In general, insectivorous birds fly away earlier. The peak of the departure of storks is in August-September. Sometimes they are delayed until October. Weakened birds remain to winter, but without human help, they will not be able to survive.

- At present, Belarus is conducting a national registration of the black stork. How are things with this bird species?

- The census for the black stork has not yet been completed and will probably be postponed to next year. There is no fresh data yet. Previously, we had about 1,300 breeding pairs of this species. In total, 225 out of 300 bird species are nesting in Belarus.The territory of our country is a migration stop, during which the birds gain strength before a long-distance flight.


Are all bird species counted in pairs?
- Not. For example, for large bitterns, males are counted. The swirling warbler is counted by the number of singing males. One male serves several females: he sang to one, did his job and already the other sings.

Marabou stork is a wise African bird: description, photo, video about the life of the marabou.

Bulldozer - Apr 22nd, 2020 Categories: Wildlife

Here he is, walking importantly, rearranging his long legs, proudly raising his head - this is an adjutant, but simply a marabou, who received his nickname for his military bearing and greatness. It is believed that “marabu” came from the Arabic “marabut”, that is, a Muslim theologian. The Arabs worship the maraba, considering it a wise bird. The huge bird belongs to the stork order and the stork family.

Habitat: Africa, Savannah Classification: Storks, Storkiformes, Marabou, Birds, Chordates Characteristics: Scavengers View: African marabou

The African marabou lives in sub-Saharan Africa. These birds live in large colonies, sometimes adjacent to pelicans. They prefer deserts and savannas, open areas, but they can often be seen near settlements. This is explained by the fact that garbage dumps are often found near settlements, and marabou storks are scavengers and feed mainly on animal corpses and garbage. But sometimes they can dine on small amphibians, rats or locusts. Other birds, and even animals of prey, are afraid to cross their path during a meal, because the marabou has a very strong and sharp beak, thirty centimeters long, with which it can pierce the skin of an animal. This stork is able to swallow ungulate bones whole. He needs about a kilogram of food per day.

Photo: marabou in a large colony.

Photo: Marabou in India.


Marabou make themselves large nests in tall trees and live in pairs, like ordinary storks. Eggs, of which there are two or three, the pair incubate in turn for a month, after which the chicks are born.


The marabou stork has an interesting appearance. Its head is completely without plumage, almost bald. Only a small hair-like fluff grows. Long neck, also without feathers. The absence of feathers on the head and neck is due to the need to eat dead animals. In order not to stain feathers while eating, nature has provided for their absence. In adults, a throat sac is located on the front of the neck. When the stork is resting, it lays its head on it like on a kind of pillow. There are air pockets inside the bag that connect to the nostrils. These cavities can swell and collapse. Scientists used to think that the purpose of this bag was to store food for future use. But, as it turned out, later, this bag is rather intended to attract the attention of females during the mating season. The color of the marabou is strict: the upper body and wings are black, and the lower one is white. When a stork soars in the sky, looking for prey, it does not stretch its neck, but bends it like a heron. Adults reach one and a half meters in height and weigh about six kilograms. The wingspan is up to 250 centimeters, and their length is 70 centimeters.

Photo: marabou in flight.


Unfortunately, even such a strong bird is subject to destruction for the sake of the desire of people to have several beautiful feathers in their collection.

Video: Marabou in Botswana.

Video: marabou and vultures.

Habitat, habitats

Both types of razin storks live where there is water. The Indian range covers the tropical regions of South Asia and Southeast Asia, including countries such as:

  • India and Nepal,
  • Thailand,
  • Bangladesh,
  • Pakistan,
  • Sri Lanka,
  • Cambodia and Myanmar,
  • Laos and Vietnam.

Gongal chooses wetlands, including flooded fields (where rice is grown), shallow swamps and brackish lakes with a water layer thickness of 10-50 cm. Such flooded areas are located, as a rule, at a height of 0.4-1, 1 km above sea level.

Important! The African Razin stork is divided into two subspecies, each of which has its own range.

Anastomus lamelligerus lamelligerus settled on the African continent - to the south of the Sahara and north of the Southern Tropic. A more graceful subspecies (Anastomus lamelligerus madagaskarensis) nests in the west of Madagascar. The African Razin stork prefers tropical regions with swamps, rivers and lakes, flooded plots and wet savannas. Storks like meadows with short grass, but they don't like impassable reeds and shrubs. Also, both Anastomus species try to settle away from human habitation.

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Razin stork diet

In search of food, birds roam at the water's edge or plow shallow water, avoiding deep water, as they cannot swim. Unlike the heron, which tracks its prey in a motionless stance, the stork is forced to walk along the forage area. Having spotted a suitable object, the bird quickly throws its neck forward, hits it with its beak and immediately swallows. If the victim tries to escape, the stork pursues it, catching it with its long beak.

The gongal's diet includes many crawling and swimming animals:

  • snails and crabs,
  • shellfish,
  • water worms,
  • frogs,
  • snakes and lizards,
  • fish,
  • insects.

The gongal swallows the prey whole, making an exception for the crab: the bird crushes its shell with powerful jaws in order to get the delicious pulp from there. Almost the same medium-sized (aquatic and terrestrial) species fall on the table of the African Razini stork:

  • ampullaria (large freshwater snails),
  • gastropods,
  • bivalve,
  • crabs and fish,
  • frogs,
  • water worms,
  • insects.

It is interesting! The African rascal stork is often friends with hippos, which make it easier for him to find food by loosening the coastal soil with their heavy paws.

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