White Necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)
The White Necked Stork, Ciconia episcopus (Boddaert) also known as the Wooly Necked Stork is the size of a vulture, black allover except for a wooly white neck and a white belly. It has a long heavy beak, a black head and long red legs. It flies high on thermals with its neck outstretched and lives near surroundings rich in water or near marsh lands and may prefer area which are drying up and exposing vulnerable prey.
The prey base consists of fishes, frogs, reptiles, crabs, insects, molluscs. It is attracted to grass fires and termite exposures. Sexes are alike. Breeding is practically all the year round. Sexes remain together round the year. Nests are a large stick platform with a central depression lined with grass and other rubbish high up in trees. The preferred tree is Salmalia malabarica or ‘Semal’. The stork is found in Sub-Saharan Africa except the extreme Southern regions; all over India except its western coast and in South East Asia.
The bird is regionally threatened in South East Asia, critically endangered in Philippines, uncommon to rare in Africa but stable in numbers and common in most parts of India with fully secure populations.
Acknowledgements-Dr. Yashpal Singh, Mrs. Neena Singh, Mr. Rajesh Bedi, Manoj Kumar Yadav