Saturday, January 31, 2009

Painted Storks of Bharatpur

200 Kms south of Delhi is the city of Bharatpur where the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is located. Also known as the Keoladeo National Park, this is a world heritage site that has over 230 species of birds - both residents and winter visitors. The time to visit the sanctuary is the winter months of November to March when along with the local birds, a host of winter visiting birds from places as far away as Siberia come to the park to breed and escape the cold winters of their host countries.

One popular bird in the sanctuary is the Painted Stork. This is a tropical bird which breeds in Asia from India and Sri Lanka to Southeast Asia.

The Painted Stork feeds on fish, frogs and large insects and would normally be found in wet marshlands and shallow waters.
The birds make their nests on trees with dry sticks . The nests are large and usually contain 2 to 5 eggs.
The young juvenile birds are dull in colour - brownish and without the bright colours of the adult bird.
The adult painted stork is a large white bird with black flight feathers. The long slightly curved downwards beak is yellow. The tail and legs are pink. This is a broad winged soaring bird and like all storks flies with its neck outstretched.

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