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Wood Stork Mycteria americana

The Wood Stork is a subtropical and tropical species that breeds in much of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.  In the United States, there are breeding populations in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

This species is a year-round resident in Florida.  Historically, the Wood Stork nested almost exclusively in southern Florida.  However, due to loss of wetland habitat and degradation of wetland quality, the breeding population declined by more than 90%.  This bird is listed on both the federal Endangered Species list and the Florida Endangered Species list.

Wood Storks have a white body with black flight and tail feathers.  Adults have wrinkled gray skin on their neck, a black plate on the crown, and a smooth pale forehead.  Juveniles have brownish-blackish feathers on their neck and head and a pale yellow bill.  They attain their full adult plumage by the fourth year.

These birds are seen in swamps, ditches, and wetlands.  Their diet consists primarily of fish, but also includes tadpoles, salamanders, grass shrimp, and snakes.  They forage for food by working their bill through the water, feeling for prey.  They may also move their feet around to stir things up.

Images on this page were taken at the Circle B Bar Reserve, Dinner Island Ranch, Gatorland, Lake Hollingsworth (Lakeland), Laurel Landfill (Sarasota), Peace River islands north of Punta Gorda, Wakodahatchee Wetlands, and a pond in back of Walmart on Kings Highway in Port Charlotte.