Family Storks (Ciconiidae)


Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea)


French: Tantale blanc German: Milchstorch Spanish: Tántalo malayo

Tantalus cinereus


, 1822,



Formerly placed in genus Ibis. Has hybridized with M. leucocephala both in the wild and in captivity#R. Monotypic.


Cambodia, W Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi.

Descriptive notes

95–100 cm. Large, predominantly white ibis-like stork. Black patch by base of bill. Breeding adult has creamy tone to plumage, bright yellow bill, and bright red... read more


Usually silent away from breeding colonies. Around nest, a falsetto “fizz” call is given during up-... read more


Predominantly a coastal species, in contrast to its near relative M. leucocephala,... read more

Food and feeding

Recorded taking large mudskippers (Periophthalmus) of 10–23 cm, also small fish, snakes, frogs. Diet clearly diverse.... read more


Peak appears to be dry season, Jul–Aug, both on Sumatra and Java, although on Pulau Rambut, off N Java, evidence of breeding in Nov... read more


Very little known. Some seasonal movements are probable outside the breeding season; Sumatran... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. CITES I. Formerly classed as Vulnerable but ongoing and severe population decline has led to its reclassification. Global population in c. 2008 numbered no more... read more

Recommended citation

Elliott, A., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2019). Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea). 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 23 April 2019).