Leptoptilos is a genus of very large tropical storks. Two species are resident breeders in southern Asia, and the Marabou Stork is found in sub-Saharan Africa. These are huge birds, typically 110?150 cm tall with a 210?250 cm wingspan. The three species each have a black upper body and wings, and white belly and undertail. The head and neck are bare like those of a vulture. The huge bill is long and thick. Juveniles are a duller, browner version of the adult. Leptoptilos storks are gregarious colonial breeders in wetlands, building large stick nests in trees. They feed on frogs, insects, young birds, lizards and rodents. They are frequent scavengers, and the naked head and neck are adaptations to this, as are those of the vultures with which they often feed. A feathered head would become rapidly clotted with blood and other substances when a scavenging bird’s head was inside a large corpse, and the bare head is easier to keep clean. Most storks fly with neck outstretched, but the three Leptoptilos storks retract their necks in flight like a heron. There is an ample fossil record of this genus. L. titan, which was hunted by prehistoric humans, was truly gigantic, and L. falconeri possibly was one of the most widespread storks worldwide during the Pliocene.
|wingspan min.:||240||cm||wingspan max.:||250||cm|
|size min.:||145||cm||size max.:||150||cm|
|incubation min.:||28||days||incubation max.:||30||days|
|fledging min.:||90||days||fledging max.:||100||days|
Video Greater Adjutant
copyright: Martin Kennewell
Leptoptilos dubius was previously widespread and common across much of South and continental South-East Asia but declined dramatically during the first half of the 20th century. It is known to breed only in Assam, India (at least 650-800 birds, or more), and at the Tonle Sap lake (c. 75 pairs) and in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern Plains (c. 15-20 pairs), Cambodia. Recent records from Nepal, Bangladesh, and Thailand are presumed to refer to wanderers from India and Cambodia. Huge numbers once bred in Myanmar but there have been just two recent reports from Meinmahla Kyun in 1998 and Kachin State in 2006. There are no confirmed records from Laos in recent years. Breeding success in recent seasons has been extremely poor in Assam: the number of nests in colonies is declining sharply, but for unknown reasons. Available data suggests that Cambodian populations declined heavily in the decades up to and including the 1990s. By 2001, several breeding sites recorded in the 1990s had been abandoned. Since 2001 protection measures at two known breeding sites (Prek Toal on the Tonle Sap and Kulen Promtep in Preah Vihear) have led to a stabilisation of national population declines and possible minor recoveries