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Dec 25, 2014

My pick for best-looking stork? The Black-necked

Photo byPaul Thomsen
The Black-necked Stork
Ephippiorhyncus asiaticus
There are 15 species of storks in the world and I think the Black-necked Stork is the most attractive.   I'm sure I would get a strong argument for the rather garish Painted Stork or the quite impressive Saddle-backed Stork.   It's the dramatic black bill, head and neck that do it for me...and the red legs.   This dramatic-looking bird is native to south and south-east Asia and Australia.   It's numbers in Asia are low however and individual birds are few and far between.   It's numbers are somewhat stronger in Australia (between 10,000 and 20,000) but not enough however, to keep it from being listed as "Near Threatened" on the IUCN Red List.   This bird is strongly territorial and other birds such as the egret, seen in the photo below at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary near Guahati, India, remove themselves quickly when the stork approaches.   The Black-necked Stork is a carnivore with a large diversity in its diet, which can include other waterbirds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, crabs, molluscs, turtle eggs and hatchlings, many species of insects and other creatures.
Photo by Anupam Nath / AP
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