Friday, 16 September 2016

Hey cousin ! .... two Storks.... two Continents...

They cannot be mixed up with each other for sure - after all they got separated a million years back but still the similarities are unmistakable. One from Indian Subcontinent and one from Africa. Both more beautiful than the other. The sitting posture, the beak, the basic plumage is all the same you will agree. Infact as we watched them, the behaviour too was absolutely the same. Only thing I missed was that I did not see the Yellow-billed Stork feeding.  That one behaviour would have convinced me more about their being related - I have seen our painted stork feeding so very many times and the feeding is very peculiar. The bird wades in shallow water (knee deep) and opens the bill partially - and sweeps it left and right - any fish, frog etc that touches the beak is quickly snapped up and swallowed. The African cousin at 108cm pictured first is slightly bigger than the Indian Cousin standing at average of 100 cm.

Yellow-billed Stork
Okay now - if you find the bird looking so similar - the birds will be be related in at one level or another. In this case the Family (Ciconiidae) and Genus (Mycteria) are the same. Both are beautiful birds at that and were a great treat to see. Of-course the Painted Stork is one bird that I run into off and on in India.

Painted Stork (though the neck may seem devoid of feathers in this picture - it is just that they are wet and struck together)
I have not inserted the sounds as storks are very poor at making sounds as adults. Most of the times it is the clattering produced by striking the beaks together. 

One unfortunate fact is that the Painted Storks are nearly decimated in wild in Thailand, small populations survive in Cambodia and are under serious threat in Pakistan where the Painted Stork's nests are targeted and chicks harvested for Pet Trade. This puts the conservation status of Painted Storks as Near Threatened.

The Yellow-billed stork populations are known to be decreasing but not rapidly so are still listed as Least Concern.

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