Leptoptilos dubius   (Gmelin,  1789) (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyright: Raj Kamal Phukan

Size: 120-150 cm to top of head.

Color: Adult (breeding). Above, including wings with and tail, blackish slaty grey slightly glossed with green. Innermost secondaries and greater wing-coverts silvery grey forming a broad band on wing. A ruff of fluffy white feathers round base of neck. Below, white including soft flimsy under tail-coverts. Adult (non-breeding) lacks the silvery grey wing-band. Young (Immature). Scantily feathered omnthe naked parts. Inner secondaries and coverts dark brown. Nestling (in down). Pure white.

Habits:- Keeps singly or in small parties, stalking about with a martial gait on marshland and jheels, particularly where the water is drying and concentrating the fish life in shallow puddles. when not actively feeding it spends the time standing hunched up, or squatting on its shanks head ludicrously drawn in between the shoulders, often with the mandibles agape.

Breeding: season, overall October to January, varying locally with early or late cessation of the rains. Nest, an enormous platform of coarse sticks 10 to 2 metes in diameter and up to a meter deep, placed far out on a near-horizontal branch of a lofty tree such as Salmalia. Eggs, 3 or 4- sometimes 2, but never 5- white, usually badly soiled. Broad ovals, more or less equal at both ends; fine textured and smooth-surfaced with the inner membrane very dark green.

Synonym (s)
Ardea dubis (Gmelin, 1789)

Common Name (s)
• Adjutant Stork (English)
• Greater Adjutant-Stork (English)
• Greater Adjutant (English)
• Hargila, Garud, Peda dhauk (Hindi)
• Peenigala konga (Telugu)
• Shatrabalak (Marathi)
• Jamadar dhonk, Moto jamadar (Gujarati)
• Hargila (Bengali)
• Dusta (Hindi)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(The key threats are direct exploitation, particularly at nesting colonies, habitat destruction, including some felling of nest-trees, and drainage, conversion, pollution and over-exploitation of wetlands. Additionally, the Indian population is threatened by reduced use of open rubbish dumps for the disposal of carcasses and foodstuffs.)
Importance:  Ecosystem balance
(Greater adjutants are important scavengers of large carrion and likely contribute to sanitation and disease control in the environment. Like many birds, greater adjutants are hosts to avian lice including Colpocephalum cooki and Ciconiphilus temporalis)
Importance:  Commercial
(Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Greater adjutants are valuable scavengers of discarded human waste, including unburied corpses as well as other large carrion. This service may have a role in preventing the spread of disease.)

Habitat:  Estuarine
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Fishes, frog, reptiles, crustaceans
IUCN Status:  Endangered


• Delhi, Okhla barrage bird sanctuary INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1968) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 1 1-368pp Available at - NIO
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at - http://www.bnhsenvis.nic.in/pdf/BUCEROS%203%20(1).pdf
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at - http://www.bnhsenvis.nic.in/pdf/BUCEROS%206%20(1).pdf
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at - http://www.bnhsenvis.nic.in/pdf/BUCEROS%208%20(1).pdf
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at - http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web Available at - http://animaldiversity.org.
  • Urfi AJ (2003) The birds of Okhla barrage bird sanctuary, Delhi, India Forktail 19 39-50pp Available at - http://www.orientalbirdclub.org/publications/forktail/19pdfs/Urfi-Okhla.pdf

Page last updated on:2013-03-11

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