Black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) - endangered species listing

The Scientific Committee, established under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, has made a Final Determination to list Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus(Latham, 1790), Black-necked Stork as an ENDANGERED SPECIES in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of that Act and, as a consequence, to omit reference to that species as a vulnerable species from Schedule 2 of that Act.

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1. The Black-necked Stork is a large glossy black and white stork with very long red legs and a large straight black bill. Its core distribution is northern Australia, although it does not occur in enormous numbers anywhere within Australia.

2. In eastern Australia the Black-necked Stork has been recorded as far south as Victoria and inland to the Macquarie Marshes and Griffith. Since European colonisation the range of this species has declined slightly to the north and east. The number of individual birds recorded on the southern and western limits of this range has declined significantly, with only occasional individuals recorded on the South Coast or west of the Great Dividing Range during favourable conditions.

3. Until the 1970s Black-necked Storks bred regularly, although in small numbers, as far south as Shoalhaven Heads. No breeding observations have been recorded south of Port Stephens for a number of years.

4. Black-necked Storks continue to breed in the northern NSW river valleys, however few nests occur within each valley. Most are located in less accessible locations or where disturbance is minimal. The species is thought to have a low tolerance of disturbance.

5. Clearance of remnant vegetation patches and individual trees constitute one of the major threats to the Black-necked Stork in NSW. The difficulty in detecting nests means that some are destroyed before their presence is detected. The scarcity of nest sites has resulted in competition for those that are available with other bird species.

6. Wetland modification also threatens this species and although artificial water sources can provide areas of new habitat these are often suboptimal for the Black-necked Stork.

7. Powerlines constitute a considerable threat to the Black-necked Stork, and several birds are killed or injured as a result of collisions with the lines each year. The few birds actually affected comprise a high percentage of the total population within each river valley.

8. In view of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 above the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus is likely to become extinct in nature in NSW unless the circumstances and factors threatening its survival cease to operate, and that transfer from Schedule 2 to Part 1 of Schedule 1 is justified.

Gazetted: 30/1/1998