Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
- Ephippiorhynchus : Greek word ephippios –saddle; rhunkhos-
- Asiaticus : From Asia
Vernacular Names: Hindi: Banaras, Loharjang, Lohasarang, Sans: Krishnakanthamahabak, Ben: Loharjangh, Lohajangha, Ass: Teliaxaring, Guj: Banaras, Moto dhonk, Mar: Kalyamanechakarkocha, Ori: Kuranchi, Ta: Periyanaarai, Te: Peddanallakonga, Sinh: Ali kokka
Distribution inIndia:Widespread resident in low lands of India.
Description: Size of 129-150-cm.It is a large bird with a glossy bluish-black iridescent head, neck, secondary flight feathers and tail; a coppery-brown crown; a bright white back and belly; bill black with a slightly concave upper edge; and bright red legs. The sexes are identical but the adult female has a yellow iris while the adult male has it brown.
Habitat: It is found in undisturbed freshwater wetlands, including swamps, rivers, lakes, lagoons, flooded grassland, water meadows and billabongs. It also occurs at times on dry floodplains, irrigated crops: especially rice paddies, and in open, grassy woodland
Food Habits: They eat fish, including eels and catfish, but also frogs, snakes, hatchling turtles, freshwater turtles and their eggs, crabs, prawns, molluscs, beetles and other arthropods. It has been known to capture waterbirds, including Little Grebe and Common Coot, which were swallowed whole. Snakes are battered or skewered to death. Usually feeds in shallow water, probing or sweeping bill side to side and stabbing at prey. It also waits motionless in areas with clear water; sometimes dashes around or jumps up in an ungainly manner to snatch prey. Feeding birds may aggressively defend small depressions of deeper water, which presumably hold more fish, against conspecifics and other water birds such as herons
Breeding Habits: They breed in July-Sept in North India and Nov-Mar in South India. A solitary tree-nester, building huge stick nest, lined with rushes, leaves and grass. It nests near top of large, preferably isolated tree like Peepul tree near water. They lay a clutch of 2–3 eggs.The incubation period is about a month. Adult birds take turns at the nest and when one returns to relieve the other, they perform a greeting display with open wings and an up and down movement of the head. The fledging period is 100–115 days. Food is brought for the young chicks by the adults and regurgitated onto the nest platform. Adults stop feeding the young at the nest and begin to show aggression towards the chicks after they are about 3 or 4 months old. The young birds may stay on nearby for about a year.