Anastomus lamelligerus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Anastomus lamelligerus
Species Authority: Temminck, 1823
Common Name(s):
English African Openbill, Openbill Stork
French Bec-ouvert africain

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Equatorial Guinea; Mauritania
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is an intra-African trans-equatorial migrant (del Hoyo et al. 1992) making movements that are triggered by the rains (Hancock et al. 1992). It breeds during in the rains when snails (its main prey items) are most readily available and nests in colonies of various sizes (del Hoyo et al. 1992) often with other species (Hancock et al. 1992). Nesting may only occur in years when local food supplies are plentiful however, so may not occur regularly at the same site (Hancock et al. 1992). The species feeds in loose groups (Brown et al. 1982, Hancock et al. 1992) that may contain up to 50 well-dispersed individuals (flocks of over 7,000 may also occur in some seasons) (Hancock et al. 1992). It migrates in flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and roosts communally in trees (Brown et al. 1982). Habitat The species inhabits freshwater wetlands (del Hoyo et al. 1992) with shallow waters and a large abundance of aquatic molluscs (Hancock et al. 1992) including marshes, swamps, rice-fields, flood-plains, the backwaters and margins of lakes or rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1992), ponds and streams (Hancock et al. 1992). It may also frequent moist savanna or burnt grassland as well as occasionally forest clearings (del Hoyo et al. 1992), coastal mudflats and mangrove swamps (Hancock et al. 1992). Diet In many regions the species may depend entirely upon molluscs (Hancock et al. 1992) such as aquatic snails (e.g. Pila spp. or Lanistes ovum) (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and freshwater mussels (Ampullaria spp.) (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Other prey items taken include frogs, crabs, worms, fish and insects (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (e.g. locusts and beetles) (Hancock et al. 1992). Breeding site The nest is a small platform of sticks and vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1992) positioned in trees and bushes over water (Hancock et al. 1992, del Hoyo et al. 1992) (e.g. inundated in standing water on flood-plains) (Brown et al. 1982), or alternatively in reedbeds (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It nests colonially, often in mixed-species groups (Hancock et al. 1992).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by habitat loss, entanglement in fishing lines and environmental pollution (e.g. pesticides applied to water for mosquito control) (Hockey et al. 2005). It also suffers from hunting, poaching and the destruction of breeding colonies by villagers on Madagascar (Hancock et al. 1992, del Hoyo et al. 1992). Utilisation The species is hunted and traded at traditional medicine markets in Nigeria (Nikolaus 2001).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Anastomus lamelligerus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 29 March 2015.
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