(2210) Dissoura episcopa episcopa.
The White-Decked Stork,
Ardea episcopus Bodd.. Pl. Enlum., p. 54 (1783) (India). Dissoura episcopus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 370.
Vernacular names. Manik-jor, Lag-lag (Hind.) ; Bagula (Mahr.) - Sanku-budi-konga (Tel.) ; Mana-koku, Vanatay-koku (Cing.); Chi-gyin-sut (Burm.) ; Kanua (Assam).
Description. Face from behind the eye naked; crown black, glossed with green; neck all round white; posterior abdomen, under tail-coverts and tail white ; remainder of plumage black; lesser wing-coverts and breast glossed with purple, this gloss sometimes also covering the whole of the upper back; rest of plumage above glossed with deep green-blue; abdomen glossed with bronze-green.
Colours of soft parts. Iris crimson; bill black, tinged with crimson-red at the tip, edges of commissure and gape; naked skin of face, chin and throat plumbeous-black ; legs and feet red.
Measurements. Wing 444 to 497 mm.; tail 199 to 225 mm.;, tarsus about 152 to 180 mm.; culmen 145 to 168 mm.
Young birds have the glossy black replaced by dull dark brown, unglossed ; the feathers of the neck are longer and more fluffy.
Distribution. All India, Ceylon, all Burma to Siam, Cochin China, Malay Peninsula and Archipelago to Java and the Celebes. I can not separate neglecta of Finsch. The amount of naked skin on the throat varies greatly according to age. Young birds have even the face lightly feathered, whilst old birds have a space running back from the ear-orifice down the side of the neck for an inch or more. Such specimens are represented in the British Museum collection from Oude, Ceylon, Upper Burma, Malay States and Java.
Whistler says that he found this Stork not uncommon in the Punjab but it has only once occurred in Sind, though it breeds South of Sind in Cutch.
Nidification. The White-necked Stork breeds in Southern India from the end of December to March but in Northern India principally from June to September, whilst lnglis took eggs in Behar in May and Butler took others in Deesa in October. The nest is a typical small Stork's nest made of sticks, lined with grass and rubbish and placed fairly high up in a tree. These birds do not breed in colonies but occasionally two or three nests may be found close to one another. The eggs number three or four and are white obtuse ovals with a rather smooth texture but no gloss. Ninety eggs average 62.9 x 47.4 mm.: maxima 67.4 x 48.4 and 67.2 x 49.0 mm.; minima 57.0 x 46.0 and 61.0 x 43.6 mm.
Habits. This Stork frequents open plains and cultivated tracts as well as marshes and ponds, feeding on all sorts of reptiles, molluscs, crabs, worms, large insects etc. Like all Storks it also eats any small mammals or young and wounded birds which may chance to cross its path though it does not hunt for these. It may often be seen soaring round in the sky, generally in pairs but sometimes in small flocks. It makes a loud clattering noise with its bill, after the fashion of the family but is said also to make a deep grunting note as well as the usual hiss.