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African Woolly-necked Stork - BirdForum Opus

C. microscelis
Photo © by Ronald B. Davis
Dila, Ethiopia; 22 January 2015
Ciconia microscelis


86–95 cm (33¾-37½ in)

  • Black overall plumage with green, blue or purple iridescence.
  • Woolly white neck
  • White lower belly and undertail coverts
  • Head with black crown and feathered side of head
  • Forked, black tail usually not visible due to tail coverts
  • Bill greyish-red

Juvenile birds are duller versions.

Similar species

Compared with Asian Woolly-necked Stork, the black crown is less extensive, with diffuse edge to white feathering, and the side of the head is feathered.

Photo © by THE_FERN. Sagala Lodge access road, Southern Kenya, November 2021


Tropical Africa.


Formerly included in "Woolly-necked Stork" together with Asian Woolly-necked Stork.


Clements regards this as a monotypic species [1].


Found both inland where swamps and flooded areas are utilized, as well as on the coast where mud flats and at low tide, coral reefs, are visited. In eastern Africa found up to 3000 m asl.


Feeds on both vertebrates and larger invertebrates. Most food captured while walking slowly.

It builds a large stick nest in trees, and 2-4 eggs are laid.


Greeting of pair members seems mainly to be whistles divided into two syllabi, and bill-chattering is used (sparingly) during display. Young give hoarse sounds.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.1)_red. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.1. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Sinclair, I and P Ryan. 2003. Birds of Africa South of the Sahara. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691118154
  4. del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, N. Collar, E. F. J. Garcia, P. F. D. Boesman, and G. M. Kirwan (2022). African Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia microscelis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.wonsto2.01

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