Painted Stork

Scientific Name: Mycteria leucocephala

Malay Name: Upih Sawah

Chinese Name: 彩鹳

Range: Breeds in India and southeast Asia.

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: 93-102 cm

Identification: Only similar species recorded locally is Milky Stork, with which this species interbreeds extensively. Differentiated from Milky by three main traits, which must all be present in combination: a distinct and complete black breast-band with white barring (Milky has a clean white breast, while hybrids may show an indistinct or weak breastband); a clear pink flush on the tertials, inner secondaries, and wing-coverts; and black-and-white spotting on the upperwing-coverts (Milky has clean white upperwing-coverts). Individuals which lack any of these features cannot be identified as pure Painted Storks.

Similar looking species: Milky Stork

Habitat: Mangroves, mudflats, and coasts.

Behaviour/Ecology: Gregarious, joining flocks with Milky Storks and hybrid Milky x Painted Storks.

Local Status: Common introduced resident

Conservation Status: Near Threatened (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Any area of suitable habitat like Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve or Chek Jawa.


BirdLife International. (2016). Mycteria leucocephala. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Baveja, P., Tang, Q., Lee, J. G., & Rheindt, F. E. (2019). Impact of genomic leakage on the conservation of the endangered Milky Stork. Biological Conservation, 229, 59-66.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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