Black-necked Stork eating snake

To: Greg <>
Subject: Black-necked Stork eating snake
From: "Evan Beaver" <>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 07:08:36 +1000
Eating an at least half alive Red Belly Black sounds like a fast road to a
sore belly. Any Herpo's out there want to comment on the likelihood of being
bitten internally?

On 7/26/06, Greg <> wrote:

Hi Val,

I am studying the Black-necked Stork and am presently writing my PhD
on the species.  Snakes are listed as having been recorded in the diet of
the Stork, particularly file snakes in Northern Australia.  I have
photos of 'snakes' being eaten by storks which have in fact, on closer
inspection, been seen to be eels and most reports of 'snakes' being eaten
New South Wales are likely to be of eels.  A wriggling eel can be very
snake-like.  However, I was contacted by Hans Lutter and June Harris, who
also viewed the feeding stork and, as you say, there was general agreement
that it was a snake and not an eel.  It was most likely a Red-bellied
Snake.  The fact that it was caught near a log away from the water also
supports the ID as a snake.  Storks will eat any animal prey available
ranging from insects up to large eels, fish, tortoises and even birds.  I
saw an adult male eat an Australasian Grebe, after bashing it vigorously
tenderise it.  In India they feed on Eurasian Coots.  They would not
encounter snakes too frequently during hunting as they feed almost
exclusively in water where snakes, other than file snakes, only

Re. the one dark, one pale eye - as the bird was an immature/sub-adult its
eyes may have been in the process of changing from dark brown to yellow.
One eye may have been more advanced than the other.  There was an adult
observed in the Manning Valley a couple of years ago with one dark and one
pale iris.  It was locally referred to as the 'hermaphrodite stork'.

The iris colour of storks can be difficult to determine, especially in
light and a distance.  Closing the nictitating membrane over the eye can
make a male look like it has a pale eye.  The number of observers and the
time spent watching this particular stork would support the fact that it
did, indeed, have one pale and one dark eye.


Greg Clancy
University of New England
National Marine Science Centre


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