Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)

The Painted Stork is a large bird with long legs that wades in the water and is thus called ‘wader.’ They belong to the stork family and have distinctive pink feathers in the tail region, giving rise to their name.

Painted Storks are found in the wetlands of the plains of the Indian subcontinent, extending into South East Asia. They search for fish in small and large flocks in shallow waters along water bodies, their long necks and head sweeping inside the water till they catch small fish by touch with their long yellow beaks. When not feeding, they soar in the sky on thermals in search of water bodies and make spectacular landings and take offs.

Painted Storks are generally not migratory, though they are known to travel up to distances of 1000 km to relocate in search of wetlands and breeding areas. Painted storks breed on trees either in mixed colonies along with other water birds, or by themselves. The breeding season begins after the monsoons and continues till March, when the fledglings have learnt to fly and care for themselves.

India has a large population of Painted Storks that are well protected, whereas they are vulnerable in other parts of South East Asia due to the bird trade.

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