Bronx Zoo is one of only three AZA accredited North American zoos to work with the species

Successful breeding program at Bronx Zoo provides valuable information to WCS field conservation scientists

Chicks visible to public at outside Aquatic Bird House

Video Download: Bronx Zoo Adjutant Stork


Bronx, NY – Aug. 13, 2015 – A pair of lesser adjutant storks (Leptoptilos javanicus) at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo have successfully hatched two chicks – one of which was from an egg produced by another adult pair. The surrogate parents are caring for both chicks as if they were their own.

In late May, Ornithology Department staff observed an abandoned egg left by a pair of adult storks that were inexperienced parents. A keeper moved the egg to an incubator where it was carefully monitored and determined to be fertile. 

When hatching was imminent, the egg was marked for identification purposes and moved to a nest belonging to an experienced pair of storks already nesting. The female accepted the egg and completed incubating it alongside her own. The fostered egg hatched on June 27 followed by the hatching of the pair’s own egg on August 5. Both chicks have been accepted by the adults, and despite the size difference both are thriving.

“The successful hatching and rearing is a testament to well developed husbandry techniques developed as part of the Bronx Zoo’s long-standing stork breeding program, said Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and Bronx Zoo Director. “Working so closely with these birds at the Bronx Zoo gives us the opportunity to study and understand their behavior and reproductive biology.  The information, knowledge and experience we gather here in NY is invaluable to the conservation of the species in the wild.”

WCS has a long history breeding lesser adjutant storks and the Bronx Zoo is one of only three zoos in North America to work with the species.  Information learned about the growth and development of these birds has been shared with WCS researchers in Cambodia and helps inform their work with birds in the wild. Data on physical characteristics, growth rate and other important developmental traits help conservationists determine the ages of wild birds during census and monitoring.

Lesser adjutant storks are one of 19 stork species in the world. As adults, they stand between 43 and 48 inches tall and have a wingspan of nearly 7 feet. Their name, adjutant, is due to their military-looking posture and strut. Their wings, back, and tail are generally covered with black feathers while the chest and belly feathers are white. Their heads and necks are nearly bare, and they do not have the neck sac characteristic of the greater adjutant storks.  In the wild, their diet consists of fish (especially mudskippers) frogs, crustaceans, and some carrion.

Lesser adjutants are classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They can be found in mangroves, mudflats, coastal swamps, marshes, flooded grassland, lakes and paddy fields. Their numbers have declined greatly throughout their range, mainly due to habitat destruction. WCS has worked to protect lesser adjutant storks in Nepal and has an active conservation program in Cambodia. 

WCS’s Wild View photo blog on the Bronx Zoo’s two new lesser adjutant stork chicks and the surrogate parents can be seen at:

For more information about the Bronx Zoo’s lesser adjutant storks or to speak with a WCS expert, contact Max Pulsinelli at 718-220-5182 or 


Max Pulsinelli - 718-220-5182; 

Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189;

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, 5:30 p.m. weekends from April to October; 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m November to March. Adult admission is $19.95, children (3-12 years old) $12.95, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $17.95. Parking is $15 for cars and $18 for buses. The Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit or call 718-367-1010.


Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit:;;  Follow: @thewcs.