Greater Adjutant Stork

(Leptoptilos dubius)





5ft tall, approximately 28 pounds, average wingspan 8 feet, average beak length 1 foot



The longest recorded lifespan in captivity was 43 years.

Population in  the Wild:

Approximately 1,000

Family Life:


3-4 eggs will be laid in a nest made of sticks in the branches of a tree.




This stork prefers shallow or drying lakes and may even visit garbage dumps.



Soars on rising hot air currents called thermals.

What they eat:



Often scavenges at garbage dumps. Their digestive system allows them to swallow and digest bones.

Closest  Relatives:

The Greater Adjutant Stork is very similar to the Marabou Stork in Africa

Relationship to  Humans:


This bird frequently scavenges for food, meaning that often they eat what other animals or humans do not want.

photo Djshal at en.wikipedia

Cool Fact:

The Greater Adjutant Stork has adaptations that help them to be better scavengers.  A bald head and neck, although it doesn’t make them look pretty, helps them to keep clean.  The neck and head is the hardest part for a bird to reach when they preen, or clean, themselves.  Having no feathers means there are less places for their scavenged food (which is often dirty!) to get stuck.

Conservation Status:

One of the biggest problems facing the Greater Adjutant Stork is that their habitat is shrinking.  The places the birds go to breed are being converted into villages where people live and cut down the nearby trees for firewood and to build their homes.  Without these trees the storks have fewer places to build nests and have families of their own. 

What is being done?

Fortunately people in India care about the storks and have made efforts to protect the land the birds need and the trees they nest in. (Add more about conservation in India

What should be done in the future?

Storks need trees to be successful and have families of their own, so more trees means more storks.  In the future, more land should be set aside for wildlife in India like the greater adjutant stork.


Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.