Painted Stork -Mycteria leucocephala

Painted Stork -Mycteria leucocephala

  • Also know as the Janghil or Dopah in Hindi and Mycteria leucocephala to scientists, the most conspicuous breeder in the heronries at the Keoladeo Ghana National Park (Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary) at Rajasthan, the habitat in this presentation is the painted stork.
  • Gorgeously colored the white plumage is marked with glistening greenish black. It has a black band across the breast and is the only white stork having a delicate pink above the shoulders, the wing and on the down feathers of the rump.
  • Some where in September, when the water bodies are full of water and fish, these storks start looking for suitable nesting grounds. They are colonial breeders and generally return to nest at their places of birth. Once the nesting ground has been spotted, they start pairing.
  • They may stay hunched up on treetops for sometimes waiting for a mate and will soon start establishing their territories. At this time they are very sensitive to intruders. Bickering and disputes are common.
  • Water is one of the most important factors in determining nesting sites.
  • Water will ensure that the breeding birds have sufficient supply of fish and other aquatic organisms for themselves and their hungry chicks. 2000 breeding storks may require 4 to 6 tonnes of fish every day.
  • Females approach prospective males having suitable territories. There is an initial resistance when the male would want to chase away the female by vicious thrusts of the beak but would eventually give in. Pair formation is followed by a bowing ceremony and clattering of beak. An adult stork cannot produce vocal sound.
  • The male usually brings twigs and the female arranges them to give suitable shape. Often old nests are repaired.
  • Painted storks are monogamous for the duration of a single nesting season. The sexes are alike and both share domestic responsibilities. The storks are light and build their nests using the more flexible extremities of trees. The nest is a large stick platform with a shallow depression, sparsely lined with leaves, straws and waterweeds.
  • Mating is accomplished at the nest, never on the ground or in water.
  • 3 to 5 eggs are generally produced and incubated for 26 days.
  • After the arrival of the chicks, the heronry becomes exceedingly busy.
  • The chicks very vociferous. The noisiest chicks thrive most as the quacking and frantic bowing stimulates the parents to feed more intensively.
  • The parents regurgitate fish on the expanded nest platform for the young ones to eat.
  • Once the chick has been taken care of the adult may also feed from its regurgitate. The young ones are voracious eaters and may eat an equivalent of up to 80% at their own body weight per day.
  • As the young painted storks grow, the parents keep adding to the nest platform. Even the young ones help in the process. This provides a larger dwelling area for the growing family.
  • To protect the young from the heat of the mid day sun most storks shade their chicks with wings half opened. Open wings spread out to the sun also help the birds to get rid of parasites. As the chicks near fledgling time, the young ones can be seen jumping up and down on the perches with flapping wings. The chicks grow up quickly and by the middle of January are ready to fly.
  • They appear as dull grey birds and smaller than the adults.

┬ęSrimaa Communication

Acknowledgements-Dr. Yashpal Singh, Mrs. Neena Singh, Mr. Rajesh Bedi, Manoj Kumar Yadav

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