The value of foraging studies in developing conservation strategies for storks is important because their breeding is often limited by food distribution. The foraging behavior and trophic specializations of the Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala), a flagship of wetlands and listed as near threatened, is reviewed here. Trophic adaptations among Mycteria and other storks, the importance of prey capture by tactolocation and various aspects of foraging behavior including diet, prey size, foraging and nesting correlates, variations in foraging activity, nocturnal foraging and kleptoparasitism are examined. Also, an account of the foraging behavior of a close congener, Milky Stork (M. cinerea), and the manner in which the foraging activities of Painted Stork, particularly biomass removal by predation and enrichment of the waters by droppings impact the ecosystem, is included. Since nesting of Painted Stork and other species of colonial waterbirds is closely linked to the performance of the monsoon, the primary driver triggering their food cycles, points for further studies are listed.
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Vol. 34 • No. 4