Living Bird Magazine
Living Bird Magazine
Wood StorkMycteria americana
- ORDER: Ciconiiformes
- FAMILY: Ciconiidae
Large, white Wood Storks wade through southeastern swamps and wetlands. Although this stork doesn't bring babies, it is a good flier, soaring on thermals with neck and legs outstretched. This bald-headed wading bird stands just over 3 feet tall, towering above almost all other wetland birds. It slowly walks through wetlands with its long, hefty bill down in the water feeling for fish and crustaceans. This ungainly looking stork roosts and nests in colonies in trees above standing water.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Wood Storks occur only in a few areas in the United States, so to get a look at one, head to a wetland preserve or wildlife area along the coast in Florida, South Carolina, or Georgia. Wood Storks tend to be busily foraging with their head down and body held horizontally, but their large size should help them stand out amongst the other pale herons, ibises, and egrets in wetlands even if you can't see their hefty bill. If they aren't foraging in areas with standing water, check nearby trees for groups of roosting Wood Storks, or look up in the sky for soaring birds with black-and-white wings. They are mostly silent, but during the breeding season, sounds of begging chicks might help you find a colony.
- Cigüeña Americana (Spanish)
- Tantale d'Amérique (French)
- Cool Facts
- Kids love water parks when it gets hot outside. Nestling birds don't really have that option, but to keep nestlings cool, Wood Stork parents regurgitate water over the nestlings. Maybe not as fun as a water park, but it does the trick.
- Storks, mainly the White Stork of Europe, figure prominently in mythology. They are revered in Greek, Chinese, and European mythologies as good luck and harbingers of spring and birth. The association between storks and babies was popularized by Hans Christian Andersen's fable "The Storks," written in the nineteenth century featuring the White Stork of Europe.
- The oldest recorded Wood Stork was at least 20 years, 2 months old. It had been banded in Georgia in 1994 and was identified by its band in the wild in South Carolina in 2014.