Milky Stork forages with an open wing

posted in: Feeding strategy | 1

GS Soh a.k.a. gssoh photographed a Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea) feeding in the Japanese Garden pond in October 2008. This bird is often seen together with the Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala), in a free-flying flock from Singapore’s Jurong BirdPark.

One of his images show the stork foraging with one wing open, wondering, “Is this to frighten the fishes or cut its reflection?”

Milky Sotrk feeds on large mudskippers and small fish, snakes and frogs. Its method of capture involves tactile use of the bill, regular probes in the shallow sediment and location by sight.

According to Elliott (1992): “A bird either stands still or, more normally, walks about in this shallow water moving its largely submerged bill from side to side as it goes. Sometimes the bird also stirs up the water or the mud on the bottom with one of its feet to make fish move , either through alarm or being attracted to the movements; to the same end they sometimes flash their wings open over the surface of the water.”

Image by GS Soh.

Elliott, A., 1992. Family Ciconiidae (Storks). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 436-465.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.


One Response

  1. The Milky and Painted Storks may also be coming from the zoo, where for many years there has been a free-flying mixed flock of 60+ birds. This is the origin for birds seen at Buloh and elsewhere in ther north, but I am not sure about the origin of the Japanese Garden birds.

    As for the spreading of its wing while feeding, other waterbirds, including egrets and herons have been known to do this too. One other theory for this technique is that the wing creates a shadow over the water, and many fish tend to retreat into shady areas when the sun becomes too hot and bright.


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