Painted Stork

Scientific Name: Mycteria leucocephala
Malay Name: Upih Sawah
Chinese Name: 彩鹳

Breeds in India and southeast Asia.


Size: 93-102 cm

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: Uncommon 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 19 December 2021

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.