Anastomus – Openbills

Shells cracking storks

Asian openbill and African openbill are two small to medium-sized extant stork species in this genus with a characteristic gap in the bill. The name originates from the Greek word anastomoō, meaning “wide open mouth.”

Asian openbills are distributed geographically in Southern Asia, and African openbills are in tropical Africa and Madagascar. They prefer freshwater wetlands and can be seen feeding in marshes, rivers, ponds, canals, and occasionally paddy fields on mollusks, mainly snails. They are specially adapted snail hunters. Open bills are highly social and have large nesting colonies on trees. African openbills are recorded as opportunistic nesters. The breeding depends on food availability (snails) and is mostly seasonal.