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Two African Openbill

Two African Openbill
Photo Information
Copyright: Michel Detay (M_Detay) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 21 W: 0 N: 160] (832)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-12-02
Categories: Birds
Camera: D3S, Nikkor ED 400mm 1/2.8 D
Exposure: f/13.0, 1/640 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-10-27 2:08
Viewed: 2583
Points: 6
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Two African Openbill (Anastomus lamelligerus) in Mudumu NP - Namibia.

The openbill storks or openbills are two species of stork (family Ciconiidae) in the genus Anastomus. They are large wading birds characterized by large bills, the mandibles of which do not meet except at the tip. This feature develops only in the adults. Both species feed predominantly on molluscs. The roof of the upper bill is fringed with plate like structures ("lamellae") in the African Openbill, but absent in the Asian species.

Despite wandering into areas far from water this bird is principally associated with extensive stretches of fresh water. It is typically a bird of marshes, swamps and lakes where it feeds primarily on molluscs. The unusual looking bill is specialised for extraction of snails from their shells. This is not done, as you might expect, by using the bill as a set of nutcrackers with the snail held in the opening. Instead the Open-billed Stork steadies the snail with its upper mandible (usually this is done underwater) and then the tip of the lower mandible (which is extremely sharp) is used to slip under the bony shield which protects the snail. The lower mandible is then used to cut the muscle holding the snail in place and the body of the snail is extracted whole for immediate consumption. Mussels and other bi-valves are handled in a similar way with the lower mandible being used to slice the muscle which keeps the 2 halves of the shell tightly closed.

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nice image of birds. good presentation. tfs.

Hello Michel ,
a nice formation you capture, great silhouette of this African Openbill and the tree detail.
very nice picture.
best wishes,
PS: I will be happy if you visit my gallery for Asian Openbill

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2012-10-27 15:43]

Hi Michel,a very original way to take a bird pic,a beautiful backlight and i like a lot how you play so well whit the shadows of openbills,it's nice to see a new idea,i like it!Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

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