black necked storkScientific Name– Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus

Conservation Status– Near Threatened

Appearance

The black necked stork is a tall bird measuring up to 135cm. When fully outstretched their wings measure 230cm from tip to tip. The average black necked stork weighs 4.1kg.

Adults have a bluey-black head and neck. The top of the head is a coppery-purple. The beak is black. The midsection is white and so are the wings which have a black stripe down the middle. Their legs start out black and become pink at the knees.

To differentiate between the sexes you can look at the eyes. The females are yellow while the males are brown.

Juvenile black necked storks look like their parents. The main difference is that they have brown where the adults have black.

Lifespan                                                                                  

The average lifespan of the black necked stork is 30 years.

Diet

The black necked stork is a carnivore. They feed on fish, amphibians, crustaceans, small water birds and insects. The stork will stand at the water’s edge and impale the prey with their beak. They then pick it up and eat it.

Habitat

Black necked storks range across Asia and Australia. They can be found in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan; they are also regularly seen in Papua New Guinea and parts of South East Asia. A large population of these birds make their home in the Northern half of Australia.

They like areas with a large permanent body of water. They also inhabit the floodplains of rivers and other wetland areas. If searching for food they may wander into open woodlands, grasslands or flooded agricultural areas.

Reproduction

The breeding season for this species is between March and May. When the storks meet they perform a dance lasting several minutes. The pair will bond for many years and sometimes may stay together for life.

When it’s time to breed the birds will find a large tree and build a platform in the tree. The platform is formed of sticks, rushes and water plants. This platform may be 3-6 feet in length. Occasionally a pair will place mud around the edges. Into the nest the females can deposit 1-5 eggs but the average is 4. The average time until the eggs hatch is about 30 days.

The parents go out to eat and come back to feed the chicks by regurgitating some of their food. By 3 to 4 months it’s time for the chicks to move out. Sometimes they may stay in the territory of their parents for up to a year. In a normal year 3 chicks would be the maximum raised. If the rainfall is incredibly good all of the chicks in the nest may be raised.

Behaviour

The black necked stork makes a range of calls, mainly a guttural grunt. They will also snap their bills and clack it also.

Quick facts

Black necked storks are commonly referred to as Jabirus. The jabiru is actually a bird which makes its home in the Americas.