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.
|wingspan min.:||150||cm||wingspan max.:||160||cm|
|size min.:||93||cm||size max.:||102||cm|
|incubation min.:||27||days||incubation max.:||32||days|
|fledging min.:||55||days||fledging max.:||60||days|
Video Painted Stork
copyright: Pieter de Groot Boersma
Mycteria leucocephala occurs in Pakistan (scarce; mainly confined to the Indus delta region), Nepal (rare in terai; mainly a summer visitor), India (widespread and locally common resident), Bangladesh (former resident, now a straggler to coastal regions), Sri Lanka (locally abundant, particularly in the dry zone), China (previously a common summer visitor in south, probably breeding, but now rare and possibly extinct), Myanmar (former resident in central region and visitor throughout; current status unknown but clearly rare), Thailand (previously common breeder in south, now on verge of extinction, small numbers recorded sporadically elsewhere), Laos (previously widespread, now rare), Vietnam (formerly widespread resident, now a rare non-breeding visitor), Cambodia (local resident, minimum of several hundred pairs breeding at Tonle Sap) and Peninsular Malaysia (previously regular, now a vagrant). There are an estimated 15,000 individuals in South Asia and fewer than 10,000 in South-East Asia, with populations declining throughout. Although it is considered one of the most numerous and secure of Asian storks, this is more a reflection of the rarity and endangerment of most storks in the region, than the security of this species.