Storks and Cranes at Bharatpur || Birds of Keoladeo National Park

Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
Painted storks flying in V-formation

Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. 


Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
Painted Storks Circling the Sky


And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  

Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center)
The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. 

Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
Painted stork about to land of a branch
The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. 

Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
Painted stork in flight
If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  

Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
A Pair of Painted Storks
Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. 

Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest
Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. 

A colony of painted storks
Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. 

Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
A pair of painted storks with new-born babies
In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  
Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork
Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. 
Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
Black-necked stork in flight
The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. 

Usually, it is the charm of migratory birds that pulls a bird lover to the Keoladeo National Park. However, for us, it was dual motivation. Despite our age-old love for birds, we have only recently started pursuing birding as part of our regular travels. And small songbirds, in particular, fascinate us. However, when we reached Keoladeo National Park, we quickly realized that it was the larger storks, egrets, and herons that are going to be the highlight of the day. Painted Storks Circling the Sky And we were excited to hear that quite a few of them were present then (November 2018). The guides and the rickshaw-wallahs were going on and on about "bahut saari chidiyan hain is saal to". So when we saw the first muster of storks, we were obviously excited. It is worth noting that the wetlands are a few kilometers away from the entrance of the national park. And almost at the entrance, we were able to spot a muster circling in the sky in the distance.  Wooly-necked Stork (slightly right from the center) The first stork that we saw was the Wooly-necked stork. We were only able to spot this big bird with our powerful Nikon binoculars, and that too by chance. It stood next to a raft of lesser whistling ducks lazing around one of the very first waterbodies we came across. And we chanced upon it while scanning through them. This is a mid-sized stork with almost entirely black body with a hint of coppery-purple on the fore-neck. It has a black head and a feathery white neck, which gives this stork its name. This stork will usually be seen alone, a single individual watching out for prey, along the edges of a wetland. Painted stork about to land of a branch The one stork that could not be ignored in Keoladeo National Park was the painted stork. These storks have made colonies at the most prominent spot in the sanctuary and like any other birds in a brood, you hear these birds much before you see them. These are beautiful storks with a pink bill, an orange face and pink and orange watercolor like storks on the wings, giving the storks their name. Their wings when seen from below are almost completely black with white stripes that converge diagonally. Painted stork in flight If you find it difficult to differentiate between a stork and a crane and a heron, you should know that you are not the only one. It is very difficult to make these birds out separately, more so a stork and a crane. A heron is easily distinguishable because it often retracts its neck in flight in a S-shape. Both cranes and storks hold their necks out straight. Storks, however, have a heavier bill than those of cranes. You can search for Sarus crane on the internet and compare the bill with those of the painted stork in this picture. Also, storks are normally less talkative than cranes, only making low moans and clattering bills, unlike cranes that have a whole range of calls.  A Pair of Painted Storks Painted storks are monogamous, which means that they mate for life. They usually build large, platform-like nests on trees, along with other waders, and usually lay about 5 eggs in a clutch. In India, their breeding season starts from mid-August and can go on till up to April. Survival rate of chicks is higher in the ones that are born earlier in a breeding season, while the ones born closer to winters, are less likely to survive. These birds have been classified as Not-Threatened. There are hundreds of pairs in Keoladeo National park. Almost fully grown babies of a painted stork standing in the nest Painted stork babies have greyish plumage which may change to brownish as they grow into juveniles. In the picture above, you can see some juvenile painted storks who are yet to leave their nests. These storks are still being fed by their parents at this stage. It is strange to see these big birds standing, waiting for their parents to bring them food. They appear like spoiled human teenagers. A colony of painted storks Adult painted storks in a colony. As you can see, these are larger storks and despite their sizes, have perfected the art of taking off and landing without disturbing nests or other birds around them. You can find a number of individuals resting on tree tops, and not really doing much for long periods of time. A pair of painted storks with new-born babies In the picture above, you can see newly hatched babies of the storks between the two adults. In order to feed their babies, parents regurgitate fish and other water creatures they have managed to catch. because of the way these birds need to contort their necks to regurgitate the food, the process seems like a kind of dance.  Two painted storks in-flight with one black-necked stork Here's the third stork we saw at Keoladeo National Park, though this one only from a distance and always in flight. Among the three storks in the above picture, you will see that one is different. It has white and black wings and a black neck. This is a black-necked stork.  This is another stork that is classified as Not Threatened and is a resident bird in India. We saw only one pair in Keoladeo National Park. In Thailand, we saw many of these storks in rural paddy fields. Black-necked stork in flight The beak of this stork too is heavier than that of a crane, but a little slimmer than the painted stork. This bird is also thought to be territorial while feeding. These birds have long-term pair bonds which may last for life. As compared to the painted stork, these birds are more secretive and often nest in isolation. Painted storks flying in V-formation In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)
Painted storks flying in V-formation
In the picture above, we can see painted storks flying in a V-formation. When we saw these birds, and also the herons and egrets and ducks, we assumed that these were migratory. However, upon further research it turned out that all water birds we saw during our trip to Keoladeo National Park are resident and do not fly long distances at all. In fact, the only migratory birds we saw were the some of smaller songbirds. I guess this means that we need to visit the park again, may be in January in order to see the migratory ducks and geese. This gives us another excuse to head out. :)

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