Australian Bush Birds
Black-necked Stork  -  Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Black0necked Stork - jabiru
The Black-necked Stork (formerly Jabiru) has long pink legs balancing the purple head and large black bill. Yellow eye indicates a female.
Black-necked Stork Black-necked Stork
Left: The large black bill is one of several obvious features of this bird.
Right: Male Jabiru (with dark brown/black eye) resting. Through the reed his lower legs can be seen bent forward at the "knee".
map map The Black-necked Stork - Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus - is a tall, black and white bird with long, deep pink legs. Neck is black, iridescent bluish-green in sunlight; bill is large and black. Females have yellow eyes, males have dark brown eyes. Males and females are otherwise the same, there are no seasonal changes. Wings are white overall with black central panels. Reaches 120 centimetres when standing, wingspan 190 to 218 centimetres.

Flies with head and neck fully extended and long legs trailing behind tail. Wings beat slowly and powerfully. Soars on thermals to higher altitudes then glides for long distances using occasional wing beats.

Black-necked Stork/Jabiru - page 2
Storks hunt in the shallows of swamps and wetlands eating most small creatures including frogs, fish, eels, turtles, small snakes and crabs. Large items are broken by jabbing and thrashing with the heavy bill then swallowed whole.

Lives in shallows of wetlands including billabongs, swamps, floodwaters, wet heathlands, watercourse pools, dams and adjacent savannah woodlands. Prefers fresh water but sometimes found on inter-tidal shores such as margins of mangrove, mudflats and estuaries.

For many years the common name has been Jabiru but this word has been reported as a Portuguese name which is considered to be "not appropriate" for Australia and the mundane common name of "Black-necked Stork" has been assigned. This name is making little headway in public use and most people are unaware the name "Jabiru" has been officially discontinued. Many people who are aware of the change derisively observe that the bird has a purple head (especially in sunlight) so the word 'black' is inaccurate, and they refuse to use an inaccurate name.

Distributed from the Kimberley through the Top End into Queensland (except the more arid south-west) and north-east New South Wales. Moderately common along coastal Northern Australia, less common south of this area on the east and west coast.

Black-necked Stork Black-necked Stork
Left. Female Black-necked Stork/Jabiru walking on the dry bed of the Fitzroy River at Fitzroy Crossing, WA.
Right. In flight.

 ¶  Genus Ephippiorhynchus is the only Australian member of Family Ciconiidae.

 ¶  Current English name is Black-necked Stork replacing the popular name Jabiru which remains in widespread popular use.