Wetland storks
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Storks are like large herons with a distinctive long-striding walk and thicker, longer bills. In flight, they have flatter wings and a long, projecting head and neck – unlike herons which retract their head back into the shoulders in flight. Woolly-necked Stork L: 86 cm (34") |WS: 150–160 cm (59–63") A large, erect, dark brown stork, with a greenish and bronze iridescence on the wings and breast, a distinctive ruffed white neck, a white tail, a blackish ‘skullcap’ and face, and a dark bill with a salmon-pink tip . Although scarce, the Woolly-necked Stork is conspicuous and widespread in Kruger, favouring rivers, pans, dams and other wetlands . The small resident breeding population in Kruger is supplemented by non-breeding visitors from farther north in Africa between November and July . Combined, these number fewer than 300 individuals . It feeds on insects and small vertebrates . African Openbill L: 81 cm (32") |WS: 140 cm (55") This is a medium-sized, all-dark stork with a greenish gloss . The bill is horncoloured and uniquely concave on the inner cutting edges, creating a diagnostic 6mm (0·2") gap between the mandibles; at long range the bill appears extended and oval . The slow and laboured flight, and long neck and feet separate it from other dark waterbirds . Uncommon but conspicuous at freshwater wetlands throughout Kruger, it uses its odd bill to extract snails and mussels from their shells, often without breaking them . A nomadic species, it is an erratic breeder in the park, depending on the condition of the wetlands . The small local population is estimated to fluctuate between 50 and 300 individuals . Wetland storks: 1 26 Yellow-billed Stork L: 100 cm (39") |WS: 150–165 cm (59–65") This is a large, mostly white bird, with black wings, long pinkish-red legs, a distinctive yellow bill and bright red facial skin . In flight it is mostly white with a broad black trailing edge to the underwings, and a distinctive black tail that differentiates it from the grassland-loving White Stork (page 63) . Young birds are greyish with horn-coloured bills . It is uncommon in Kruger, where the small resident population may be supplemented by non-breeding visitors from farther north in Africa between October and April . It is more tied to wetland habitats than most other storks and forages in muddy pools with its bill partially submerged and open, stirring up prey with its feet, and snapping up fishes and other small creatures upon contact . It is not particularly gregarious, but will congregate when food is abundant . EN BIRDS OF RIVERS AND WETLANDS yellow-billed stork woolly-necked stork african openbill 27 ...