Family Storks (Ciconiidae)


Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius)


French: Marabout argala German: Großer Adjutant Spanish: Marabú argala
Other common names: Greater Adjutant Stork

Ardea dubia

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Closely related to L. crumenifer, with which formerly considered conspecific. Monotypic.


E Nepal, N India (modern-day records only from Assam Valley, W Bengal, Bihar, and E Uttar Pradesh) and N Bangladesh, and Indochina (principally in Cambodia); breeding now probably restricted to Assam, Bihar and Cambodia#R#R.

Descriptive notes

120–152 cm. Huge, dark stork with very heavy, dark-based pale bill and pendulous saffron-yellow neck-pouch; forehead and face mostly dark brown or blackish, but head... read more


Generally silent away from nest, where utters various loud grunting, croaking, mooing and roaring... read more


Marshes, lakes, jheels, paddyfields, open deciduous and freshwater flooded forest; often... read more

Food and feeding

Carrion and large fish of perhaps up to 2–3 kg (study in Assam recorded 36 species of fish being taken by this species); also frogs,... read more


Oct–Dec/Jan in Burma, Cambodia and India (dry season in Assam, where eggs laid between Nov and Jan). Preferably nests in large,... read more


Nomadic and locally migratory; disperses widely after breeding, occurring irregularly in Nepal (... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Recommended for CITES I. Has declined catastrophically and now on the verge of extinction; population recently estimated by BirdLife International at 800... read more

Recommended citation

Elliott, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 April 2020).