Mycteria: Large Tropical Storks

Stork General Info ... Photos of the Different Members of the Stork Family for Identification

Painted StorkMycteria is a genus of large tropical storks with representatives in the Americas, east Africa and southern and southeastern Asia.

They are broad-winged soaring birds that fly with the neck outstretched and legs extended. They are resident breeders in lowland wetlands with trees in which build large stick nests.

The Mycteria storks are large birds, typically around 90-100 cm in length with a 150 cm wingspan. The body plumage is mainly white in all the species, with black in the flight feathers of the wings. The Old World species have a bright yellow bill, red or yellow bare facial skin and red legs, but these parts are much duller in the Wood Stork of tropical America.

Juvenile birds are a duller version of the adult, generally browner, and with a paler bill.

These storks walk slowly and steadily in shallow open wetlands seeking their prey, which, like that of most of their relatives, consists of fish, frogs and large insects.



Two prehistoric relatives of the Wood Stork have been described from fossils:

  • Mycteria milleri (Valentine Middle Miocene of Cherry County, USA) - formerly Dissourodes
  • Mycteria wetmorei (Late Pleistocene of W and SE USA)

Remains found in Late Pleistocene deposits of San Josecito Cavern (Mexico) may also belong into this genus (Steadman et al. 1994).


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