Painted stork is a tropical species, belonging to the stork family of Ciconiidae. The bird is found in the Asian continent, covering the area from India and Sri Lanka to Southeast Asia. Broad-winged soaring birds, the Painted storks of India fly with their neck outstretched. They are resident birds and are found in Indian lowland wetlands, with trees.
The Painted stork of India is a tall and slim bird, which grows to a
height of 95 to 100 cm. The bird is mostly white in color, with the
exception of its wings and chest feathers that have black and white
markings. The color of the lower back, along with the legs, is light
pink. The head of the Painted storks is only partly covered with
feathers and is orange in color.
The bill is long, yellow in color and curves towards the end. The
female Painted stork is a little smaller than the male. The young ones
are brownish in color when they hatch. Only after they become three
years old, do they get adult feathers or plumage. Full maturity comes
around the age of four years.
Painted storks of India prefer to eat fish, which also forms a major
portion of their diet. However, at times, they consume frogs and snails
also. When hunting, the stork puts its head inside the water, with its
bill being partly open. The bird keeps swinging its head back and forth
in the water, till it catches a prey.
Painted storks are seen occupying Indian freshwater marshes, ponds and
flooded fields. Apart from India, the bird is found in Pakistan, Sri
Lanka, eastern China, Kampuchea and Vietnam. A small population of the
Painted stork lives in Thailand also.
Painted stork bird of India has a place in the list of protected
species, at the moment.
The predators of Painted stork of India include tigers, leopards,
jungle cats, hyenas and crocodiles.
Painted Storks are found mostly in large colonies and stay near water.
The nests, made up of sticks and leaves, are built close to the edge of
the water. One can see other stork species, like herons, ibises,
cormorants and spoonbills, sharing the habitat with Painted storks. Till
18 months of age, the young ones can make loud calls to attract their
parents. However, after this, they lose their speech and use other
signals to convey something to their fellow birds.
The breeding season of the Painted stork starts towards the end of the
rainy season. The mating period is the time for the male storks to
perform ritualistic displays and attract females. After mating, the nest
is built and the female lays around 3 to 5 eggs. The incubation period
is between 27 and 32 days and the responsibility is shared by the both
the parents. The young ones become fully matured when they attain four
years of age.
The most important as well as the most developed senses of the Painted
stork comprise of its eyesight and hearing. The young ones communicate
through loud hoarse call. However, after attaining 18 moths of age, the
style of communication changes to clattering of large bills or hissing
or bowing to each other or spreading the wings, etc.
Facts about Painted Storks