Nature conservation

Threatened species

Black-necked Stork - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 30 Jan 1998
Profile last updated: 01 Dec 2017


The Black-necked Stork is the only species of stork found in Australia. The distinctive black-and-white waterbird stands an impressive 1.3m tall and has a wingspan of around 2m. The head and neck are black with an iridescent green and purple sheen. The massive bill, short tail and parts of the wings are also black and the long legs are a conspicuous orange-red to bright red. The rest of the body is white. Females have a yellow eye, the males dark-brown. Juvenile birds are generally brown. Black-necked Storks are usually seen singly or in pairs in NSW, occasionally in loose family groups. In flight, they may intersperse their slow, heavy wingbeats with short glides, or soar on thermals. Storks are generally silent.


The species Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus comprises two subspecies, E. a. asiaticus in India and south-east Asia, and E. a. australis in Australia and New Guinea. In Australia, Black-necked Storks are widespread in coastal and subcoastal northern and eastern Australia, as far south as central NSW (although vagrants may occur further south or inland, well away from breeding areas). In NSW, the species becomes increasingly uncommon south of the Clarence Valley, and rarely occurs south of Sydney. Since 1995, breeding has been recorded as far south as Buladelah.

Habitat and ecology

  • Floodplain wetlands (swamps, billabongs, watercourses and dams) of the major coastal rivers are the key habitat in NSW for the Black-necked Stork. Secondary habitat includes minor floodplains, coastal sandplain wetlands and estuaries.
  • Storks usually forage in water 5-30cm deep for vertebrate and invertebrate prey. Eels regularly contribute the greatest biomass to their diet, but they feed on a wide variety of animals, including other fish, frogs and invertebrates (such as beetles, grasshoppers, crickets and crayfish).
  • Black-necked Storks build large nests high in tall trees close to water. Trees usually provide clear observation of the surroundings and are at low elevation (reflecting the floodplain habitat).
  • In NSW, breeding activity occurs May - January; incubation May - October; nestlings July - January; fledging from September. Parents share nest duties and in one study about 1.3-1.7 birds were fledged per nest.
  • The NSW breeding population has been estimated at about 75 pairs. Territories are large and variable in size. They have been estimated to average about 9,000ha, ranging from 3,000-6,000ha in high quality habitat and 10,000-15,000ha in areas where habitat is poor or dispersed.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthMoonie-Barwon Interfluve Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNarrandool Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Outwash Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Predicted None
Cobar PeneplainBoorindal Plains Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCastlereagh-Barwon Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCulgoa-Bokhara Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsWarrambool-Moonie Predicted None
Mulga LandsNebine Plains Predicted None
Mulga LandsWarrego Plains Predicted None
NandewarNandewar Northern Complex Known None
NandewarPeel Predicted None
New England TablelandsArmidale Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Predicted None
New England TablelandsNightcap Predicted None
New England TablelandsNortheast Forest Lands Known None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Predicted None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastComboyne Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Known None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Predicted None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
OceanHawkesbury Shelf Known None
OceanManning Shelf Known None
OceanTweed-Moreton Known None
Ocean - Other StateNorthern Australian Coastal Waters Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Predicted None
Sydney BasinSydney Cataract Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Predicted None