( Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus)
The black-necked stork is the only representative of the stork family found in Australia and often referred to as a jabiru. Adults have a striking black and white plumage, with deep red legs and feet. The female has distinctive yellow eyes, while the male eyes are dark. The black-necked stork is very sensitive to human-induced impacts such as altered water levels and the destruction of aquatic vegetation.
The black-necked stork is found along the north and east coast of Australia, sometimes as far south as Sydney, but this is not a common occurrence. They inhabit freshwater marshes and wetlands, lakes, pools in open forests, mangroves and large rivers.
Each bird hunts independently, striding through the shallow water, probing with its large powerful bill as it goes. The storks are freshwater foragers where their main food is fish, but they may also eat reptiles, frogs, crabs, rodents and even carrion. When hunting active prey a bird may run a few seemingly disjointed steps and catch the food with a rapid thrust of the bill, swallowing with a backward jerk of the head.
The black-necked stork breeds any time from March until October. They build a substantial nest of large bulky sticks up to 1.8m wide, lined with reeds and may be located often up 25m above the ground or near the waters edge. The black-necked stork usually has between 2-4 white eggs which both parents incubate.
Black Necked Stork Profiles
J.J. is the first black-necked stork to be bred in captivity. He arrived from the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary in Port Douglas in 2004. J.J got his name from Jab, his mother, and James, his proud father.
J.J. is one of a kind. He has answered many questions about black-necked storks including several we didn't even ask. Can you believe J. J. has not only been taught by his parents to fend for himself, but also to build a nest. Yes! He actually helped his parents build their latest nest, as well as help feed the next year's nestlings. What a ripper!
Juliette is the long, red-legged female black-necked stork. With her beautiful big yellow eyes she is a stunning specimen and a real head-turner, who often gets looked up and down! Juliette has been at the Zoo since 2003. She was born in the wild, but fell from her nest and badly injured her right leg. She was rescued and hand-raised from a young age and would not have survived in the wild.