Wood Stork (For Wild Bird Wednesday)

Circle B Bar Reserve


Mycteria Americana

There are 19 species of stork in the world but only one, the Wood Stork, breeds in the United States.  They live primarily in the southeastern part of the country.

The Wood Stork is a large black and white wading bird with no feathers on its head.  They live in or near swamps and feed mostly on fish but have been known to eat almost anything that may be available.  To catch fish, the stork places his large open bill underwater and waits for a fish to swim near.  Then he snaps the bill shut like a mousetrap.

Nests are usually built in trees during late winter.  The birds are social and often feed and roost in small to large flocks.  They can often be seen soaring on high thermals alone or in the company of vultures.

Wood Stork populations are in delicate balance and are endangered in some areas due to loss of habitat.

Resting In The City Park

Resting In The City Park

At Home In The Swamp

At Home In The Swamp

His Nickname Is "Old Flinthead"

His Nickname Is “Old Flinthead”

Sometimes Steals A Meal

Sometimes Steals A Meal

Often Seen In Groups

Often Seen In Groups

Graceful In Flight

Graceful In Flight

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit.

See more birds from around the world at Paying ReadyAttention for


Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography | 33 Comments

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33 thoughts on “Wood Stork (For Wild Bird Wednesday)

  1. I sure like your series on the Wood Stork. I would love to see the babies. I have never seen a real Stork.

    • Thank you, Nora! Hope your day is going well. I’ll see what I can do about getting some stork chicks to pose once they make it into the world!

  2. Sid Jones

    Loved the stork-about-town series! Over how many trips did it take to build up this library?

    • Hi, Son! These pictures were taken on three different occasions. Tons more in the “library” but just picked a few for this post.

  3. Beautiful photo series showing.
    Thanks for the comment on my blog.
    Hanne Bente

  4. Wonderful shots and info that I didn’t know!
    I especially like the shot of “Old Flinthead” – the light is very nice in that one.
    The ‘stealer’ is quite a capture as well.
    Your comment to Teresa (Tex) made me smile.

  5. Yesterday we saw our first woodstorks, so we knew we were back in Florida . We have been following their story ever since we started coming here. Did the State leave them on the endangered list? There was some stuff in the paper last spring just before we left about wanting to take them off the list. Some people think they’ve fully recovered because they see them so often right in town — like in roadside ditches. But it’s my understanding that the ones you see along the ditches haven’t found good places to nest.

    • It’s my understanding the Wood Stork is still on the “Endangered” list for Florida. A homebuilder’s association brought suit against the state to have them downgraded to “Threatened” earlier this year but I don’t know the outcome of that suit. Welcome back!

  6. Very nice pictures, Wally!
    This stork looks a bit strange to me, bald-headed yes indeed! 🙂
    But every bird is interesting although!
    And yes I also think “my birds” need boots! 🙂 /Pia

  7. The group photo is lovely, and thanks for the feeding description!

  8. Nice shot of the Wood Storks gathering at waters edge- and great feather detail on your second shot. Well done, Wally.

    • Thank you very much, Pam. These guys aren’t afraid of much so I can get fairly close sometimes. Now, if I can just learn to hold the camera without shaking!

  9. It must be great to have storks on a regular basis – we don’y have any in the UK apart from the occasional vagrant White Stork from Europe. I love your shots Wally, especially the side-on inflight shot which shows the reptilian and prehistoric origins of the stork family. I hope they can continue to thrive wherever they occur.

    • Thank you, Phil! The population in central Florida is quite robust. Not so in the south part of the state, especially in the Everglades. Hope things turn around, for the swamp as well as the birds.

  10. A great WBW post.
    Your photos are very good!

  11. I miss seeing Wood Storks so I am very happy to see yours Wally!

    • Let me know anytime you need a “Stork fix” and I’ll send more pics! 🙂
      They are starting to build nests and shouldn’t be long before I’ll try to get some “cute chick” shots.

  12. Beautiful shots of the Wood Stork Wally! I especially like the second shot “Resting in the City Park.” The in-flight photos really show this bird’s beauty.

    • Thank you, Larry. Even though they’re having problems in general, our area is blessed with large numbers and I never tire of watching them.

  13. TexWisGirl

    great shots! i was so thrilled one winter to see one here at our texas pond. he was all alone but stayed around for a couple of days before continuing south (i presume). prehistoric looking but fascinating!

  14. Hi Wally, lots of great Wood Stork shots! I like the juvenile trying to steal a meal. The Wood Storks are a little cuter when their young and have some fuzz on their heads!

  15. Great set of pictures – I think the term “Old flint-head” could be used in a number of none birding situations!

    I my defence, I do think I am morally obligated to take as many pictures as possible when work sends me overseas – after all I can catch back up with my sleep when I get back to my desk!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M – Melbourne

    • Stewart, thanks for the nice comments.
      I never doubted you were doing your duty. 🙂
      And you’re right, of course, one must prioritize and taking pictures of your trip is top of the list!

  16. Lovely shots! I adore these elegant gentlemen…. Here’s to their continued survival in our wetlands. Protect, protect, protect.

    • Thank you! They have a long way to go to recover in the Everglades (as does the swamp itself), but the good news is they are expanding their range and overall the population appears in good shape.

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