At the beginning of the twentieth century, the greater adjutant storks were found in huge numbers, in much of South and South-East Asia from Pakistan through northern India, Nepal and Bangladesh to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Over the last hundred years, a massive decline has taken place and their breeding population has confined to only two places in the world one in Assam in India and the other in Cambodia. However its foraging population survives mainly in the flood plains of Brahmaputra, Ganga and Kosi region. Some reports of breeding populations of the greater adjutant had come from Uttar Pradesh in the year 1865-1868 and from Orissa in 1889-1890 but were not authenticated as mentioned in the Red Data Book1 .
IUCN (the World Conservation Union) has categorized this species as endangered in the year 2002. Its total world population has been estimated to be 700-800. 80% of the breeding population of this species is found in Assam in India and rest in Cambodia. The authors of this case study have identified the first ever nesting of greater adjutant in Bihar as the third breeding range of this species in the world.2
In India nine species of storks are found. Among these, the white stork, oriental stork and black storks are migratory and the greater adjutant, lesser adjutant, black necked stork, Asian openbill or openbilled stork, woolly necked stork or white necked stork, and painted stork are resident.
Out of these nine species of storks, seven are seen around Bhagalpur district of Bihar. The members of Mandar Nature Club (MNC) based in Bhagalpur have found the breeding sites of four species of these storks in the area i.e. the Asian openbill, black necked stork, lesser adjutant and the greater adjutant. While the greater adjutant has the status of endangered category, the lesser adjutant is categorized as vulnerable by the IUCN under the list of threatened birds of Asia. In Bhagalpur both these species are seen breeding on the same trees. Black necked stork and painted stork have been categorized by IUCN as nearly threatened species.