(2211) Xenorhynchus asiaticus asiaticus.
The Black-necked Stork.
Mycteria asiatica Lath., Ind. Orn., ii, p. 670 (1790) (India). Xenorhynchus asiaticus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 372.
Vernacular names. Banaras, Loharjang, Loha sarang (Hind.); Bam salik (Beng.) : Peria koku:(Tam., Ceylon); Al-koka (Cing.) ; Telia-herenga (Assam); Hnet-kalah (Burm.).
Description. Head and neck black, the occiput and nape glossed with copper-bronze, the rest with brilliant green-blue and with purple where the bronze and green meet; back, scapulars, innermost secondaries and median wing-coverts black glossed with green ; remainder of plumage white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown, yellow in the female; bill black; naked skin of pouch and eyelids dull purple ; legs and feet coral-red.
Measurements. Wing 565 to 645 mm.; tail 257 to 281 mm.; tarsus about 300 to 333 mm.; culmen 298 to 324 mm.
Young birds have the head, neck and mantle brown, the feathers with pale edges ; some of the scapulars darker and slightly glossy; quills dark brown with white bases; lower back, rump and sides of upper tail-coverts dull white; centre of coverts and tail brown, the latter with white base and tip; sides of breast brown; remainder of lower plumage white.
Distribution. Ceylon, India, Burma, Siam, Cochin China and Malay States.
Nidification. The Black-necked Stork breeds over the whole of its range from October to December, a few birds laying as early as August and others as late as January. The nest is an enormous structure, varying from three to six feet in diameter by one to two feet deep, with a well-made cavity for the eggs. It is constructed of small sticks and branches and well lined with grass or soft rubbish of some kind and is invariably placed by itself on a tree near the top. The tree may be large or small, standing alone in cultivation or one of a group. The eggs number three or four and are like those of other Storks. Thirty eggs measured by myself average only 69.5 x 53.2 mm. but forty-five measured by Hume averaged 73.9 x 53.8 mm. Maxima 74.9 x 53.4 and 70.6 x 55.2 mm. : minima 67.9 x 54.0 and 68.5 x 51.0 mm.
During the breeding-season, sometimes also at other times, both sexes display by dancing before one another with great flapping of wings and clattering of bills.
Habits. Much the same as those of other Storks but it seems to have a predilection for plains in the vicinity of large rivers and it is, perhaps, a more regular fisher than most Storks, though it eats everything else they do. It is nowhere common numerically although so widespread and is never found in flocks.