Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Waterbird foods: Black-necked Stork

Despite their large size and declining population, Black-necked Storks have received relatively little scientific attention. The most prominent study is that carried out by Gopinathan Maheswaran in the managed lakes in Dudwa Tiger Reserve in northern Uttar Pradesh. The storks there were seen to eat fish as their major food.

The unmanaged wet
lands amid agricultural fields in western Uttar Pradesh have the largest known population of this species. Here, observations show that fish is not likely their major food - frogs (and reptiles) are! The photographs above show (from top) newly fledged juveniles have already learnt to catch frogs, snails sometimes figure in the diet of juveniles, and large bull frogs make for a great meal and are literally beaten to death by adults before they are swallowed.

(Photo information: top: 21 Jan 2009, Etawah district; midd
le: 7 Apr 2009, Etawah district; bottom: 12 Apr 2009, Etawah district. I put together all the observations I had made over the years of food items that Black-necked Storks ate, and now have a note in the journal Forktail in case you are really interested.)


  1. Interesting. Do they also eat frogs in the areas where they are observed to eat fish? And do the birds show a preference for fish when this food source is available?

  2. Good questions - no answers yet! This is one of the least-studies Stork species in the world.

  3. black necked storks are big birds and it is always so nice to see how these birds hunt and eat in the natural environment, great pictures thanks for the cool post!