Family Storks (Ciconiidae)

Least Concern

African Openbill (Anastomus lamelligerus)


French: Bec-ouvert africain German: Mohrenklaffschnabel Spanish: Picotenaza africano
Other common names: African Openbill Stork

Anastomus lamelligerus


, 1823,



Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. l. lamelligerus Temminck, 1823 – Africa S of Sahara (except extreme S).
  • A. l. madagascariensis A. Milne-Edwards, 1880 – Madagascar.
  • Descriptive notes

    80–94 cm; 628–1400 g. Males average larger. Mantle and breast glossy green, purple or brown; gap in bill 6 mm wide at most. Immature duller, bill almost straight... read more


    Largely silent away from the breeding colonies. Around nest, utters loud raucous, sonorous honks “... read more


    Mainly found in extensive freshwater wetland habitats, typically in marshes and swamps, backwaters... read more

    Food and feeding

    A specialist predator on aquatic snails (Pila, Lanistes ovum) which it finds in muddy waters or buried in mud. It also... read more


    Breeding sometimes opportunistic, both in timing and location. For example, egg-laying has been reported in nearly every month in Zambia.... read more


    Most breed in E & S Africa, chiefly late in wet season and early in dry season, when their... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Thought to be declining overall, although some populations may be stable. Common in suitable habitat throughout its range, often... read more

    Recommended citation

    Elliott, A., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2020). African Openbill (Anastomus lamelligerus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 January 2020).