What field guides should know:
On your nature guide course you will learn much about the birds of the Okavango including this magnificent stork. They have a most interesting method of hunting where they hold their long, powerful bill half-open as they slowly sift through the water. When the beak comes in contact with small fish or other potential prey, it snaps shut and the animal is captured and swallowed. They often feed with one wing held horizontal and it is unclear as to whether this is to flush fish or to provide shade and therefore a false shelter to lure the fish closer.
The question you ask is if the water is dirty, how does the stork know the difference between food and other inedible objects? The bill of the stork is filled with “taste buds” called Herbst corpuscles that allow the stork to “taste” anything it comes into contact with.
This large unique stork with it’s bright yellow bill cannot be confused with any other species.
Distribution in Botswana:
Common throughout the Okavango, Chobe and Linyanti systems in northern Botswana. They are nomadic and often congregate in large numbers around drying up pools where food is concentrated.FGASA Level 1 Course Specialist Birding Course