The Jabiru, Jabiru mycteria, is a large stork found in the Americas from Mexico to Argentina, except west to the Andes. It is the only member of the genus Jabiru. Although the Asian Black-necked Stork and the Saddle-billed Stork have been referred to as “Jabiru”, it is not of the same species as the American Jabiru.
The adult Jabiru is about 45 inches tall and has a wingspan of 102 inches. The beak is up to 12 inches long and is black and broad, slightly upturned, ending in a sharp point. The plumage is mostly white, but the head and upper neck are featherless and black, with a featherless red stretchable pouch at the base. The sexes are similar, although the female is smaller than the male. The Jabiru is a powerful and graceful flier.
The Jabiru lives in large groups near rivers and ponds, and eats prodigious quantities of fish, mollusks, and amphibians. It will occasionally eat reptiles and small mammals. It will even eat fresh carrion and dead fish, such as those that die during dry spells, and thus help maintain the quality of isolated bodies of water.
The nest of twigs is built by both parents around August”“September (in the southern hemisphere) on tall trees, and enlarged at each succeeding season. Half a dozen nests may be built in close proximity, sometimes among nests of herons and other birds. The parents take turns incubating the clutch of 2 to 5 white eggs.