Group size and habitat use of Black-necked Storks Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus were studied over a 30-month period in an unprotected landscape with a mosaic of natural and manmade features in Etawah and Mainpuri districts, Uttar Pradesh, India. Group size was largely one or two and never more than a family of two adults and three young. Group size did not change with season or across habitat types. Black-necked Storks used habitats to different extents across years and seasons. Wetlands were preferred in all seasons and rice-paddies were preferred during the monsoon. The use of irrigation canals was consistent across seasons and was always in proportion to their availability. Irrigation canals and crop-fields, particularly flooded rice-fields, provided some additional habitat to Black-necked Storks, but catered to the population for a very small period of time. While some studies have demonstrated that flooded rice-fields are useful for wintering waterbird species, conversion of natural wetlands to crop-fields will not be advantageous to Black-necked Storks, and these habitats need to be preserved to conserve the species.
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