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The Maguari Stork’s populations are not currently threatened in spite of declines in some parts of the range in recent years.
Agriculture expansion involving intensive use of pesticides, and direct exploitation (young birds are taken at nest for consumption) are important threats.
But the species is still widespread and abundant in most parts of Argentina.

Fr: Cigogne maguari
All : Maguaristorch
Esp : Cigüeña Maguari
Ital: Cicogna maguari
Nd : Magoeari
Sd : Maguaristork
Port: Maguari

Photographers :

Philippe et Aline Wolfer

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


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Maguari Stork
Ciconia maguari

Ciconiiforme Order – Ciconiidae Family

Length: 97-102 cm
Height: 85 cm
Wingspan: 150-180 cm
Weight: M: 4200 g – F: 3800 g

The Maguari Stork is a South American species. Very similar to the European White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), it is slightly more coloured on the head than the European Species. 

Male and female are similar in plumage.
The adult has white body plumage, except the black flight feathers and the primary wing-coverts. The white short tail is forked. The uppertail-coverts are black whereas the rectrices are white.
Underparts are white too. The underwing is similar to the upperwing.

We can see some pale buff or greyish tinge on crown, nape, lower cheeks, neck and breast. The lores and the facial bare skin around the eyes are bright red.
The long bill (slightly longer in male) is pale blue at base and red at tip. The eyes are pale yellow. Legs and feet are red.  
During the breeding season, the bare parts are brighter.

The juvenile resembles adult, but the orbital area is black and the bill is greyish. Legs are black.

The Maguari Stork is not voiceless, but as numerous Ciconiidae species, the bill-clattering is more often heard than true calls or whistles. However, it may produce some mechanical sounds.

The Maguari Stork occurs mainly in freshwater wetland areas such as swamps, flooded pastures, reedbeds and ricefields. It also can be seen in savannah ponds, cultivated fields and grassy areas.
In Bolivia, this species occurs up to 2500 metres of elevation, but usually at about 900 metres.

The Maguari Stork is a South American species found in E of the Andes, from Venezuela to Argentina.
This species performs post-breeding dispersion, probably depending on rains. They usually travel in flocks of about 50 birds or more, and sometimes cross the Andes between Argentine and Chile.

The Maguari Stork feeds primarily on aquatic animals such as amphibians, eels and other fishes, crustaceans and insects. It also takes reptiles and small aquatic rodents. 
This stork forages in dense aquatic vegetation by visual feeding, pecking at some preys. It often feeds alone or in pairs, but more often in small groups. It can be seen near cattle as the Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), taking advantage of flushed insects by cows.

The Maguari Stork is loosely colonial and several pairs can be seen close to each other. They often breed in small groups, between 5 and 15 nests.
But the species can also be solitary nester in the same areas.

Usually, the male arrives first at the breeding site, and starts to defend the small territory. It defends the site strongly and can become quite violent. Fights may involve occasionally deaths. Then, the female tries to approach, but the first contact is often aggressive. She remains subdued and tries to appease the selected male.
Once the female is accepted by the male, various ritual displays and ceremonies occur, very typical of genus Ciconia.

The Maguari Stork has long broad wings, allowing sustained flight. It needs to jump 2-3 times before to take off with noisy, powerful wing-beats.

The Maguari Stork breeds in June-November in Venezuela and August-October in S Brazil. The season varies according to the range, between May and November, and lasts four months. 
This loosely colonial species breeds in groups of 5-15 pairs, often very close to each other (only 50 cm apart). The nest can be placed between one and six metres up on bushes or small trees, but according to the available sites, this species may also nest on the ground in dense reedbeds. The nest-site is always surrounded by water.
The nest is made with sticks and lined with grass. It is a huge nest of about 2 metres wide and 70/80 cm deep.

The female lays 3-4 eggs, relatively small in relation to the size of the adult. The oval eggs are dull white, becoming darker during the incubation which lasts 29 to 32 days.
At hatching, the chicks have white down, replaced by blackish-grey down one week later. This second down is very thick. Three weeks later, it bleaches to olive-brown;
At five weeks of age, the juvenile storks are covered in black juvenal plumage. White down appears again at seven weeks. While the white feathers are growing, the young make their first flights. And finally at three months, the first basic plumage is similar to that of adults.
The chicks are fed by both parents. They regurgitate aquatic food into the nest where the young pick up and eat.
They fledge at 60-72 days after hatching, and are fed at nest or in marshes during 5-6 weeks.
Males are sexually mature at 3 years, and females one year later.

The Maguari Stork feeds mainly on aquatic items such as insects, frogs and tadpoles, fish (eels), crustaceans, aquatic rodents and reptiles. It forages in marshy areas, walking slowly while searching for preys.