Tantalus leucocephalus

Tantalus leucocephalus, Forster,

938. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 761; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. i V, p 24; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 435 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 276 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 136.


Length, 42; expanse, 72 ; wing, 20; tail, 7; tarsus, 7.75; bill at front, 9 to 10.

Bill deep yellow, tip greenish, as also are the naked orbits, head and gular skin ; irides pale yellow-brown ; legs fleshy-red.

Plumage white; the quills and tail richly glossed green-black ; tertiaries white, beautifully tinged with rosy, with a darker band near the end, and a white tip; the feathers loose and decomposed; lesser and median-coverts glossy green, with white edges; greater-coverts pure white.

In summer the tertiaries acquire a deeper rosy tint, and the bill and nude parts become of a brighter and deeper yellow.

The young bird has the plumage generally brown, paler on the back and rump, dark on the wing-coverts ; beneath more or less albescent, with a broad brown patch on the sides of the abdomen; bill pale greenish-yellow.

The Pelican Ibis, or Painted Adjutant, is generally distributed throughout the region. It is a permanent resident. I found a colony of these birds breeding in March, at Hir, about ten miles from Neemuch ; the nests, considering the size of the birds, were very frail; they were composed of twigs, and the eggs could be seen from below; there were fifty or sixty nests, and none contained more than four eggs, but they were all fresh, and possibly they may lay more. The eggs are elongated ovals, much compressed at one end ; the shell is fine and compact, of a dull white color.

They measure 2.76 inches in length by about 1.9 in breadth.

Handbook to the Birds of the Bombay Presidency
Barnes, Henry Edwin. Handbook to the birds of the Bombay Presidency, 1885.
Title in Book: 
Tantalus leucocephalus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Barnes, H. Edwin
Page No: 
Common name: 
Pelican Ibis
Painted Stork
Mycteria leucocephala

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith