Today’s World Wildlife Wednesday comes to you from Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia, though that is not the homeland of the Yellow-billed storks (Mycteria ibis). I found these storks in KL’s world-famous Bird Park but they are natives of sub-Saharan Africa, though most numerous in the swamps and marshlands, lagoons and mudflats of the east African countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.
The storks in my photos may look a bit odd, as if they’re drinking an awful lot of water, but they are, in fact, fishing. Rather than using their vision to see their prey, of small fish and frogs, crustaceans, worms and insects, they use their sense of touch, detecting movement and vibrations through their bills and then quickly snapping shut those bills to secure their food before gulping it down whole.
The Yellow-billed stork – also known as the Wood stork or the Wood ibis – stands about a metre tall when fully grown, and, just like us humans, their foreheads seem to get more and more wrinkly with age. The bird shown below left is a juvenile, so it is still wearing its mottled brown baby feathers.