Long-legged Waders

Wood Stork Wood Stork
Mycteria americana


40-44" (1-1.1 m). W. 5'6" (1.7 m). White with black flight feathers and tail. Head and neck bare, dark gray. Bill long, stout, and slightly curved; black in adults and dull yellow in immatures. Unlike herons, storks fly with neck extended.

Endangered Status

The Wood Stork is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The numbers of these large wading birds have declined drastically in recent years due to land development, logging, and draining of their feeding grounds. There were an estimated 20,000 breeding pairs in the 1930s, breeding throughout much of the southeast as far West as Texas. Today's population of breeding pairs is approximately 5,000. While Wood Stork rookeries have been protected in recent years, it is the loss of feeding habitat that has dealt the blow to this species. It has been estimated that a pair of storks and their young require some 440 pounds of fish during the breeding season, so adequate feeding grounds are a necessity.

Wood Stork


On or near the coast, breeding chiefly in cypress swamps; also in mangroves.


2 or 3 white eggs on a huge stick platform in a tree. Nests in colonies.

Wood Stork


Breeds in Florida and Georgia; very rarely elsewhere along coast from South Carolina to Texas. Outside breeding season wanders as far as California and Massachusetts (very rarely). Also breeds in tropical America.


Dull croak. Usually silent except around nest. Young make clattering noises with their bills.


Formerly called the "Wood Ibis," this is a true stork. It is easily distinguished from white herons by its large size, upright posture, dark, naked head and neck, and heavy bill with a downward curve at the tip. These birds perch motionless on a bare branch or slowly stalk through marshes in search of food. They obtain food--mainly fish and snakes--by probing the water with their bills, locating prey by sense of touch. Expert at soaring, they are sometimes seen circling high in the air on rising air currents. They nest in enormous colonies numbering up to 10,000 pairs.