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Wood Stork

Wood Stork
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-09-17
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/800 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2014-08-28 8:08
Viewed: 2011
Points: 35
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) is a large American wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It was formerly called the "wood ibis", though it is not really an ibis. As of June 26, 2014 it is classified as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

The adult is a large bird which stands 83–115 cm tall and spans 140–180 cm across the wings. Males typically weigh 2.5–3.3 kg; females weigh 2.0–2.8 kg, although large males can weigh up to 4.5 kg. It appears all white on the ground, with blackish-gray legs and pink feet. In flight, the trailing edge of the wings is black. The head is dark brown with a bald, black face, and the thick downcurved bill is dusky yellow. Juvenile birds are a duller version of the adult, generally browner on the neck, and with a paler bill. The bare head and the long bill, which can measure up to 25.5 cm in length, render the Wood Stork distinctive from other large waders in its range. The standard scientific measurements of the Wood Stork are as follows: the wing is 42–49 cm, the culmen is 19–25 cm and the tarsus is 17.5–21.5 cm.

Habitat and breeding
This is a subtropical and tropical species which breeds in much of South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
In the Pantanal I saw hundreds of them in big colonies.
The Wood Stork is the only stork that presently breeds in North America. In the United States there is a small breeding population in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, along with a recently discovered rookery in southeastern North Carolina. After a successful three-decade conservation effort resulting in an increased population in the southeastern United States, the Wood Stork was removed from the endangered species list and upgraded to threatened on June 26, 2014. Similarly, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, its decline seems to have been reversed: after an absence between the late 1960s and the mid-1990s, the species is now again regularly encountered there, in particular in the Tubarão River region. It is likely that the Paraná River region's wetlands served as a stronghold of the species, from where it is now re-colonizing some of its former haunts. Globally, it is considered a species of Least Concern by the IUCN due to its large range.

The Wood Stork is a broad-winged soaring bird that flies with its neck outstretched and legs extended. It forages usually where lowering water levels concentrate fish in open wetlands; it also frequents paddy fields. Walking slowly and steadily in shallow water up to its belly, it seeks prey, which, like that of most of its relatives, consists of fish, frogs and large insects. It catches fish by holding its bill open in the water until a fish is detected.
A resident breeder in lowland wetlands with trees, the Wood Stork builds a large stick nest in a forest tree. They nest colonially with up to twenty-five nests in one tree. Breeding once a year, a female typically lays three to five eggs in the clutch. The eggs are incubated 27–32 days by both sexes. Wood Storks' reproductive cycle is triggered when waterholes dry up sufficiently to concentrate fish in sufficient numbers for efficient feeding of the chicks. Each chick weighs approximately 60 grams, is unable to fly and is helpless. Competition for food is fierce, and if food is scarce, only the older chicks will survive. Week-old chicks are fed about 15 times per day, and grow rapidly. By 14 days, each will weigh 10 times its hatching weight. At 28 days, each is 25 times heavier. During the breeding season, Wood Storks need over 400 pounds (180 kg) of fish to feed themselves and their offspring. When the weather is very warm, parents also collect water and bring it to the nest to drool on and into the mouths of the chicks. By the time the young are four weeks old, both parents leave the nest to search for food, and this continues until the chicks fledge or leave the nest. Young may continue to return to the colony for another 10 to 15 days to roost or to try to get food from their parents. A colony is considered successful if its parents average at least 1.5 fledged young per nest.

Each adult will defend its nest against various predators: corvids, vultures, grackles and striped skunks will attempt to pick off eggs. Raccoons are the leading predator of nests, and can cause almost complete colony nesting failure when water dries under nests in drought years since they can easily access the nest using dry ground under the tree. Adults have few natural predators, but unwary ones have been picked off by American alligators.

This species seems to have evolved in tropical regions; its North American presence probably postdates the last ice age. A fossil fragment from the Touro Passo Formation found at Arroio Touro Passo (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) might be of the living species; it is at most from the Late Pleistocene age, a few 10,000s of years ago. North American fossils from that time are of an extinct larger relative, M. wetmorei. This was probably a sister species; both occurred sympatrically on Cuba at the end of the Pleistocene.

Source: Wikipedia

Alex99, oscarromulus, Hotelcalifornia, marius-secan, Hussain58, AKBAR-ALI-ASIF, Ishi, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2014-08-28 8:17]

Hi Peter.
I cannot imagine how this bird flights with so heavy head and beak. Once more great in-flight picture captured with excellent exposure parameters and stunning sharpness/details. Well done and kind regards.

It's an absolute delight to read your notes!!! Very detailed. Thanks for educating my person.
For a moment I assumed that you had registered a VULTURE OF SORTS.
But a closer look at the beak revealed another species.
Best and most kind regards,


  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2014-08-28 8:40]

Hallo Peter,
Great Capture ..
Very beautiful photo in nice sharpness and details.
Best wishes,

Ciao Peter, great capture of fantastic in-flight bird, wonderful colors, perfect focus, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Peter-Beautiful Flying picture of this Wood Stork against such blue sky.Nice sharpness with splendid light.Details are good too.Regards and thanks for sharing-Srikumar

Once again you post a wonderful image with a interesring bird. Amazing sharpness and excellent clarity. Outstanding colors. You managed perfect this composition. The light and details are great.
Thanks for sharing!

hallo Peter
Super mooi en goed van scherpte zo tegen de lucht in genomen
de kleuren zijn ook weer prachtig
bedankt gr lou

Quite well framed this bird.But noise is visible under wing black portion.Hind portion got little bit more sharpness.

great flight portrait, greetings Ori

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2014-08-28 16:12]

Hi Peter,great timing and very professional result,absolutely beautiful this wings position,impressive sharpness in the best exposure too,i like it! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • hsn6a Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 0 N: 435] (8652)
  • [2014-08-29 0:03]

Hello Peter,
great capture mycteria..regards.

Hi Peter,

I was away for a while and now back. What an amazing bird. I like the head :) Thanks for sharing this beauty,

Hello Peter,

Hope life is good. This is an excellent in-flight shot of the bird, an ideal posture we all yearn for.The tips of feather on the other wing are barely visible and add to the overall beauty of the shot....show he balance.Amazing indeed! Thanks a lot for sharing, take care,

warm regards/Abid

Hi Peter!
Beautiful in-flight shot of this big bird. Very good sharpness and details and a fine contrast with the blue sky. Thanks for sharing,
Best Regards,

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2014-08-29 13:23]

Thank you very much, Peter, for sharing this excellent capture of an interesting species. I saw it in Southern Florida some years ago.

Have a pleasant weekend,


  • nanreh Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 12 N: 258] (2191)
  • [2014-09-01 18:16]

A beautiful image of frozen flight, this Mycteria americana. Thanks for sharing, Peter.


  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2014-09-02 10:52]

Hi Peter,
Excellent capture of flying stork. Nice colours and sharpness details.
Fantastic contrast against the blue background.
Regards Jiri.

Hello Peter

Great shot of the Wood Stork in-flight,
superbly focused with great sharpness,
and details, from its flight pose
we can feel the flight speed, TFS


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