A Jabiru beside Jerona Road

This Jabiru was our bird of the day, without any doubt, on our trip with Wildlife Queensland to Jerona, in spite of stiff competition from raptors including numerous Black Kites, a Brahminy Kite, a Sea Eagle and a Wedge-tailed Eagle.

The Jabiru is Australia’s only stork and one of our tallest birds. It is very much the same size as the far more common Brolga but is heavier in the body and (very obviously) beak. I have seen them occasionally on the Town Common and elsewhere but never so close as this one, which was foraging in a water channel about 50 metres from the road.

It didn’t mind us taking photos from the car but took off when I walked, ever so quietly, towards it.

Black-necked Stork, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Jabiru aka Black-necked Stork
Black-necked Stork, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
…taking to the air…
Black-necked Stork, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
…and vanishing into the distance

The species has long been known as the Jabiru but more recent practice is to call it the Black-necked Stork because (as Ian Montgomery explains on Birdway) calling it a Jabiru “risks confusion with another species also called Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria) of South America.” I still prefer Jabiru; it’s traditional here, it’s a prettier word, and although the bird is certainly a “stork” it isn’t really “black-necked”, since there are beautiful blue, green and purple iridescent highlights through all its dark feathers; for a better look at them, follow my earlier link to Birdway.

Whichever common name we use, it’s Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus in Latin – and I really doubt that that will ever be a common name: it’s just too hard to spell.

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