Black-necked Stork

The Black-necked Stork, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It is a widespread species, which is a resident breeder in southern Asia and Australasia*, from India east to New Guinea and the northern half of Australia. In Australia it is also known as a Jabiru but should not be confused with the similar bird of this name from the Americas, which belongs to a different genus.

This is a huge bird, typically 51 to 59 inches tall with a 90 inch wingspan. It is spectacularly plumaged. The head, neck, wing bar and tail are jet black, with the rest of the plumage white. The massive bill is black and the legs are bright red. Sexes are identical except that the female has a yellow iris, while the male’s is brown. Juveniles are mainly light brown with a white belly and dark legs.

The Black-necked Stork breeds in marshes and other wetlands in tropical lowland. The female lays 3-5 eggs in a stick nest in a tree. It feeds on fish, frogs and large insects, young birds, lizards and rodents.

Black-necked Storks are extremely sensitive to environmental changes like water pollution, habitat destruction and human disruption around breeding sites.

*Australasia: The geographic make-up of Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, the Malay Archipelago and other islands south of the equator between E longitudes 100 and 180.