The Openbill, a species of stork almost sixty centimetres tall, delicately wades through the shallow water. Again and again it dips its head below the surface. When it scoops up a freshwater snail it deftly pulls the snail out of its hard shell without breaking it. These birds need barely fifteen seconds to accomplish that, but opening mussels usually takes a little longer. If a mussel cannot be cracked, the Openbill drops it in a sunny spot on the riverbank where it will open eventually. Most of the time, mussels are deposited in the same spot, which is easy to identify by the pile of empty shells. Currently such accumulations are found at the Chobe River Camp in the eastern parts of the Zambezi Region where Openbills take advantage of the Chobe River’s low water level to forage for their favourite food.

More Information: Gondwana Collection Namibia

Author Dirk Heinrich


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