Pelicans and Storks
The first gallery shows Pelican (Pelecanidae) and Stork (Ciconiidae) families, see Taxonomy note below. More galleries show pelican and stork species roosting, flying, preening, drying-out together and other behaviours in fresh and saltwater habitats.
Pelicans and Storks
Pelican and Stork Notes
Apart from three stork species, all others are ‘Red List (2019)’ assessed as ‘Least Concern’; the Black-necked and Painted Storks are ‘Near Threatened’ and the Milky Stork ‘Endangered’. The Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis urinator) is a Galapagos subspecies endemic.
There have been sightings of Milky and Painted Storks in Singapore, mainly in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Their status here is debatable as they could be either vagrant or escapee. See Stork Behaviour Notes section below.
Asian Openbill is a rare non-breeding visitor to Singapore. I photographed it while feeding at Sungei Buloh Mudflats.
Pelican Behaviour Notes
Australian Pelican Roost Behaviour Notes
I came across this small Australian Pelican roost on a small islet surrounded by reed beds at the edge of Lake Albert / Yarli on the east side of Meninge. There were both adult and immature pelicans together with at least one little pied and several little-black cormorants. Several adults decide to fly, making clumsy take-offs.
Stork Behaviour Notes
Both the Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) and Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea) are extant and introduced (seasonality uncertain) species to Singapore, IUCN Red List refers. I photographed both species at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Also, a milky at the Japanese Garden, although it may have been an escapee from Jurong Bird Park.According to IUCN Red List free-flying Painted and Milky Storks occur at Singapore Zoo. And hybridisation has produced reproductively viable offspring (Yong D. L. in litt. 2011). There is a possibility that these hybrid birds could cross to Sumatra and mix with key Milky Stork populations and pose a threat if they crossed over into mainland South-East Asia. The Bird Ecology Study Group in Singapore reports of possible hybrids at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and its only 8Km, as the crow flies, from Mandai.
Distinguishing features: Painted Storks are speckled black pectoral band, that all other stork species lack, and pinkish tinged wings, in non-breeding are generally duller. Milky storks have a black patch at the base of the beak. In non-breeding plumage lacks the milky-white tone, dark red facial skin, pinkish-yellow beak, red legs and feet.
I think images captioned Milky Stork are probably true except for the picture taken at Japanese Garden which does have a pink tinge to the wing. Captioned Painted Stork images, which have black patches at the base of the bill are probably hybrids although the sunbathing posed individual does have a pectoral band but seems to lack pink wing tinge. Maybe all Milky and Painted Storks in Singapore are hybrids but favouring one species.
Pelican and Stork Taxonomy
Although Pelicans and Storks belong to different orders, I’ve lumped them together for convenience. The Core Waterbirds Webpages describe the higher-level taxonomy for (i) Pelecanidae (Pelicans) placed in Pelecaniformes and (ii) Ciconiidae (Storks) which belong to Plataleiformes; both part of the Aequornithes (Core Waterbirds) clade.