BIRD OF THE WEEK: Stork couples’ lifetime commitment
The black-necked Stork has to be the most spectacular of our waterbirds and is the only stork found in Australia.
Previously called a Jabiru but renamed because a bird in Central and South America had a prior claim to the name.
At two metres tall it is an impressive sight on land and in the air.
It has black and white body plumage, glossy dark green and purple neck and massive black bill.
The long legs are a bright coral red.
Both sexes are the same except that the female has a yellow eye and the male a dark eye.
They inhabit wetlands, such as flood plains of rivers with large shallow swamps and pools, and deeper permanent bodies of water.
It feeds mainly on fish, small crustaceans and amphibians but has been known to take the chicks of other waterbirds such as the Comb-crested Jacana.
It has also been seen to take large eels from wetlands that are drying out and have low water levels.
A pair will bond for life and build a huge nest out of sticks and vegetation high in a tall tree standing in or near water.
Their courting behaviour consists of approaching each other with wings extended and some bowing and clapping of bills when they meet.
Breeding success is dependent on rainfall with as many as five young birds fledging in years with a good wet season.
The range of the Black-necked Stork has been reduced with the modification of flood plains and tall reed beds for agriculture, mining and human settlement.
Not very common around Bundaberg with the most recent sighting being at Hermanns Road causeway at Burnett Heads.
Allan Briggs is the Secretary of BirdLife Capricornia, contact him with your bird questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.