Family Storks (Ciconiidae)

Near Threatened

Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)


French: Tantale indien German: Buntstorch Spanish: Tántalo indio

Tantalus leucocephalus


, 1769,

Sri Lanka


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


SW Pakistan (Sind)#R, India and Sri Lanka E to Indochina and S China (now probably extirpated)#R#R.

Descriptive notes

93–102 cm; 2–3·5 kg. Distinctive, ibis-like stork with long, tapering, drooping bill. Only Mycteria stork with pectoral band. Breeding adult is... read more


Largely silent away from the breeding colonies. Around nest, utters drawn-out screams and low-... read more


Mostly frequents shallow freshwater at a diversity of wetland types, such as lakes, grassy... read more

Food and feeding

Chiefly consumes fish, of a diversity of species as available and including the alien Tilapia in India. Fish prey is usually 1... read more


In India breeding is during July/Aug–Oct in N, Nov–Mar in S; starting soon after beginning of monsoon. A colonial tree nester,... read more


Resident with local movements. After breeding, birds disperse in search of optimum feeding... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Still one of most numerous and secure of Asian storks but this largely reflects the poor conservation... read more

Recommended citation

Elliott, A., Garcia, E.F.J., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala). 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 30 March 2020).