Species Identification - Birds

Wood Stork- Mycteria americana

Family: Storks

 

Description: One of only two storks that reside in North America, and the only stork to breed in the U.S., the wood stork was downgraded from endangered to threatened status on June 26, 2014, after thirty years of conservation efforts. The wood storks are large birds, standing 33-45 inches with wingspans of 55-71 inches. Exceptionally large males can weigh up to ten pounds. The wood stork appears all white on the ground, with blackish-gray legs and pink feet. In flight, the trailing edge of the wings is black and the bare head is dark brown with a bald spot. It has a long, thick down-curved bill which helps distinguish it from other large waders. It flies with its neck outstretched and legs extended, looking a little like a wooden marionette.

Range: The wood stork breeds in much of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The primary breeding population in the U.S. is on the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The Hunting Island area is a good place to see them. The wood stork favors cypress trees in marshes, swamps, lowland wetlands with trees. It builds a large stick nest in the trees.

Photos by Carl Berube

Site LogoHelp us keep Hunting Island State Park a special place

We need only two things to provide the services and projects you see described on this website: your participation and your tax-deductible membership fees. For one $40 membership contribution, you and your family can join Friends of Hunting Island and have unlimited access to the park for one year. All members are encouraged to participate in any of our on-going projects. If you do not wish to join, but want to donate to our efforts, click here to make a tax-deductible donation to the Friends of Hunting Island.