Birds – Maguari Stork

South America is the home of a fine species known as the Maguari Stork (Euxenura maguari). It is about forty inches in total length and has the plumage white, with the exception of the wings and upper tail-coverts, which are black. The naked spaces about the ear and the feet are red, while the bill is horn-color with a yellowish base. There is a very curious modification of the tail-feathers in this bird, a feature first correctly worked out by Mr. Ridgway. The tail is short and deeply forked, the feathers being very rigid, while the lower coverts are elongated, extending beyond the true tail, and stiffened so as to resemble the true tail-feathers.

The Maguari is found throughout South America, being especially abundant in Argentina, where, Mr. Hudson says, “it is a well-known bird on the pampas, breeding in the marshes, and also wading for its food in the shallow water; but it is not nearly so aquatic as the Jabiru, and after the breeding season is over it is seen everywhere on the dry plains. Here these birds prey on mice, snakes, and toads, but also frequently visit the cultivated fields in quest of food. Where mice or frogs are exceptionally abundant on the pampas, the Storks often appear in large numbers, and at such times I have seen them congregating by hundreds in the evening beside the water; but in the daytime they scatter over the feeding ground, intent on their prey, with majestic Crane-like strides. To rise they give three long jumps before committing themselves to the air, and like all heavy flyers make a loud noise with their wings.”