The Black-necked Stork is the only stork found in Australia.
With black and white body plumage, glossy dark green and purple neck and massive black bill, the Black-necked Stork is easily identified 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 duskier.
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, woodland areas or flooded paddocks in search of food.
The Black-necked Stork is restricted mainly to coastal and near-coastal areas of northern and eastern Australia. Throughout the monsoonal areas of northern Australia, the Black-necked Stork is still widespread, but fewer numbers appear southwards to eastern Australia.
Outside the breeding season, small family groups may be seen. These groups may be partially nomadic or may stay in the same area.
Feeding and diet
The Black-necked Stork feeds on fish, small crustaceans and amphibians. Most prey is caught by the bird 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.
Gutteral grunts. Will also clack and snap bill.
Pairs of Black-necked Storks bond for several years, perhaps for life. The nest is a large platform of sticks and other vegetation, which is placed in a tall tree standing in or near water. Birds are secretive and nest in isolated pairs. There is little courtship, with the exception of some bowing and clapping of bills. The eggs are white and conical and are incubated by both parents. Both parents care for the young.
- Breeding season: March to May
- Clutch size: 2 to 4
- Time in nest: 115 days
In the past the species was found in much of eastern New South Wales, but is now extinct throughout much of this area. The range of the Black-necked Stork has been reduced with the modification of floodplains and tall reed beds for agriculture, mining and human settlement.
- Pringle, J.D. 1985. The Waterbirds of Australia. Angus and Robertson/National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.