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Painted Stork: The Most Beautiful Bird of Stork Family

Updated: Aug 1


Painted Stork resting on tree top

Painted Stork inside shallow water

Perfect aerodynamic body of Painted Stork



Perfect landing on water surface


Painted Stork: The Most Beautiful Bird of Stork Family

It was a sunny winter Sunday and we were walking near new Kanpur Airport project site. Suddenly we saw a pair of ‘Painted Stork’ flying overhead. Within few minutes both of them landed majestically in the shallow water of nearby pond. Their flight was so impressive that we got mesmerized. The beautiful photos of Painted Stork were clicked and presented here. It is a large wading bird which belongs to ‘Ciconiidaefamily. Its scientific name is ‘Mycteria leucocephala’ .

Out of other types of Storks found in India such as Asian open-bill stork, Black stork, White stork, Woolly-necked stork – ‘Painted Stork’ is the most beautiful due to unique colour combination gifted to them by the Nature.


Salient features of Painted Stork:

· Physical appearance shows prominently downward curved yellow bill, bare orange head, pinkish legs, white with black striped marking on the wings and pinkish tertials.

· In flight, upper wings appear dark black with stripes on coverts. It displays distinctive appearance in flight with extended dropping neck & down-curved bill, long trailing legs and long wings with deep flapping beats. It has a very fascinating and elegant flight. It can fly for long periods at great height.

· Normally found in large flocks, roosts on trees, open sandbanks, flooded fields, freshwater marshes, lakes and reservoirs etc.

· They mainly feed on fish, frogs, lizards, large insects, snails & molluscs. They forage by wading slowly in shallow water with the bill open and partly submerged, feeling for prey / food.

· Their calls are weak moans and clattering of bills.

· Its Hindi name is कठसारंग / जंघिल / कंकरी (Janghil)’.


Painted Stork in Natural Habitat


Fascinating Flight of Painted Stork


Video of Painted Stork



Painted Storks hovering over Jantar Mantar, New Delhi


# As per International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) conservation status, these birds are classified as Near Threatened’ (NT). Due to encroachment over wetlands and their natural habitats, number of these birds are decreasing. We all must make effort to save/restore our dwindling wetlands for survival of such beautiful birds. Above all, presence of birds is indicator of a healthy environment & ecosystem.

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