|Mycteria||americana||NA, LA||se USA to n Argentina|
Mycteria is a genus of large tropical storks with representatives in the Americas, east Africa and southern and southeastern Asia. Two species have “ibis” in their scientific or old common names, but they are not related to these birds and simply look more similar to an ibis than do other storks. The Mycteria storks are large birds, typically around 90?100 cm in length with a 150 cm wingspan. The body plumage is mainly white in all the species, with black in the flight feathers of the wings. The Old World species have a bright yellow bill, red or yellow bare facial skin and red legs, but these parts are much duller in the Wood Stork of tropical America. Juvenile birds are a duller version of the adult, generally browner, and with a paler bill. They are broad-winged soaring birds that fly with the neck outstretched and legs extended. They are resident breeders in lowland wetlands with trees in which build large stick nests.
Two prehistoric relatives of the Wood Stork have been described from fossils. 1) Mycteria milleri (Miller’s Stork) (Valentine Middle Miocene of Cherry County, USA) – formerly Dissourodes. 2) Mycteria wetmorei (Wetmore’s Stork) (Late Pleistocene of W and SE USA, and Cuba)
The latter seems to have been a larger sister species of the Wood Stork, which it replaced in prehistoric North America. Late Miocene tarsometatarsus fragments (Ituzaingo Formation at Parana, Argentina) are somewhat similar to Mycteria but still distinct enough to be probably a distinct genus, especially considering their age. A Late Pleistocene distal radius from San Josecito Cavern (Mexico) may belong in this genus or in Ciconia. A “ciconiiform” fossil fragment from the Touro Passo Formation found at Arroio Touro Passo (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) might be of the living species M. americana; it is at most of Late Pleistocene age, a few 10.000s of years.
Listen to the sound of Wood Stork
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
recorded by Bernabe Lopez-Lanus
|wingspan min.:||150||cm||wingspan max.:||165||cm|
|size min.:||85||cm||size max.:||115||cm|
|incubation min.:||27||days||incubation max.:||32||days|
|fledging min.:||50||days||fledging max.:||32||days|
Generally nests are built of sticks, and are placed in larger trees at or above the canopy level. The nest is a very shallow cup, often described as a sort of platform. Both members of the pair build the nest, incubate eggs, and rear young. Between 1 and 5 creamy white eggs (more usually 2-4) are laid over the course of 4-9 days, and incubated for 27-32 days. Young hatch sequentially, are covered with white down at hatching, and must be brooded constantly for the first week. After that time, they can stand at 2-3 weeks, and walk or climb away from the nest at 3-4 weeks. Young feed voraciously and call loudly during the first five weeks of age.
Parents feed young by regurgitating food directly into their bills; when its hot, the parents may regurgitate water over the chicks to cool them. Storks also defecate on their legs as a way to use evaporative cooling-thus their dark-colored legs often appear white. Young begin to leave the nest for short trips between 50 and 60 days of age, though parents may continue to feed them for some time thereafter. No parental care is shown after the young leave the nest.
During the breeding period, each nest may need 150 kg of fish to produce between 1 and 3 nestlings. As a result, colonies tend to produce a lot of feces, which places a lot of nutrients into the soil and surrounding water. This may result in local changes in the appearance and types of vegetation in the colony, as well as increased production and densities of aquatic animals in the immediate vicinity of the colony.
Storks feed mostly on fishes, but will also take a variety of other aquatic organisms, including insects, crayfishes, shrimps an crabs, amphibians, snakes, small alligators, and occasionally small birds and mammals. Generally, storks tend to avoid the smallest prey and take prey averaging 40 – 85 mm in length.
Video Wood Stork
This species breeds in the United States from southern North Carolina through the coastal plain of South Carolina, Georgia, and occasionally in Alabama, and throughout peninsular Florida. Outside of the United States, Wood Storks are found breeding from Mexico south to Argentina where suitable habitat is available: east of the Andes from Colombia to Argentina and eastern Bolivia; west of the Andes from Colombia through Ecuador. In Suriname very common in the coastal regions with open water surface.