Black-necked Stork

A Black-necked Stork standing in a grassy clearing

Scientific Name: Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus

Size: 129 – 135 cm

What does it look like?

The Black-necked Stork, or Jabiru, is the only stork found in Australia. Black and white body plumage, glossy dark green and purple neck and massive black bill, it is easily distinguished from all other Australian birds. The legs are long and coral-red in colour. The female is distinguished by its yellow eye. Immature birds resemble adults, but the black plumage is replaced by brown and the white plumage is more grey-brown.

Where is it found?

Mostly restricted to coastal and near-coastal areas of northern and eastern Australia.

What are its habitats & habits?

The Black-necked Stork inhabits wetlands, such as floodplains of rivers with large shallow swamps and pools, and deeper permanent bodies of water. Occasionally individuals will stray into open grass and woodland areas insearch of food. The range of the Black-necked Stork has been reduced due to the modification of floodplains and tall reedbeds for agriculture, mining and human settlement. Throughout the monsoonal areas of northern Australia, the Black-necked Stork is still widespread, but fewer numbers appear southwards to eastern Australia. In the past the species was found in South Australia, Victoria and much of New South Wales, but is now extinct throughout the majority of
these areas.

The Black-necked Stork feeds on fish, small crustaceans and amphibians. Most prey is caught by jabbing and seizing it with its large bill. Some food is caught by lunging forward with a large stride or by leaping into the air.

Pairs bond for several years, perhaps life. The nest is a large platform of sticks and other vegetation, which is placed in a tall tree in the vicinity of water. Birds are secretive and nest in isolated pairs. Courtship is mostly absent, with the exception of some bowing and clapping of bills. The 2 to 3, occasionally 5 eggs are white and conical and are incubated by both parents. Both also care for the young.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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