Introduction to the SIS-SG

Structure and goals

The IUCN Stork, Ibis and Spoonbill Specialist Group is Co-chaired by Dr. Luis Santiago Cano, and Dr. Gopi Sundar.


Members are experts from all around the world interested in the ecology and conservation of SIS species. 


  • Asian Openbills eat snails and may be expanding globally thanks to increasing rice cultivation. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Very little is known of the Asian Woolly-neck, recently classified as globally-Vulnerable. (India, K S Gopi Sundar)

  • A global assessment of the genetics of the widely-distributed Glossy Ibis is currently ongoing. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Flooded rice fields provide invaluable additional habitat for SIS species, such as these Painted Storks. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • The White-faced Ibis breeds colonially on vegetation in marshes in north and south America. (USA; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Floating villages are a unique component of Tonle Sap Lake, a critically important SIS habitat in south-east Asia. (Cambodia; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • The habits of Black-necked Storks in marine areas, like this bird in coastal Gujarat, remain to be discovered. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • White Ibis in the Americas are among the best-studied Ibis species globally. (USA; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • The largest population of the critically-endangered Greater Adjutant is found in a rubbish dump in Assam. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Multi-species flocks foraging in wetlands are common among SIS species. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • The Wood Stork is among the best-studied stork species of the world. (USA; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Eurasian Spoonbills are gregarious and very widely distributed. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Red-naped Ibis are endemic to the Indian subcontinent. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Storks' bills come in handy to grab fish in deep and shallow waters. (Wood Stork; USA; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Until recently, Lesser Adjutant were thought to require undisturbed wetlands for foraging. (Nepal; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Traditional and artificial village ponds in India are used by several SIS species. (Painted Stork; India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Irrigation canals in north India are crucial habitats for several SIS species. (Eurasian Spoonbill; India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • The Roseate Spoonbill is one of the most easily identifiable bird of the Americas. (USA; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • The Oriental White Stork is one of the most endangered SIS species globally. (China; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Few SIS species have sexual dimorphism: one example is the Black-necked Stork in which females have a yellow iris. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Bill-fencing is an aggressive behaviour of many stork species. (Painted Stork; India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Allo-preening is seldom observed in SIS species. (Asian Woolly-neck; India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Storks are almost entirely carnivorous, and can take large prey like this Keelback snake. (Asian Woolly-neck; India; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • The tips of Ibis' bills are heavily innervated allowing them to feel their prey as they probe in mud. (White Ibis; USA; K S Gopi Sundar)

  • Abdim's Storks frequently nest on trees located in people's backyards. (Eithiopia, Luis Santiago Cano)

  • Wattled Ibis are endemic to Eithiopia and Eritrea, and are one of the lest studied Ibis species in the world. (Eithiopia, Luis Santiago Cano)

The structure and goals of SIS-SG

The Stork, Ibis and Spoonbill Specialist Group  is part of the IUCN's Species Survival Commission's network. It is governed by two Co-chairs, and members from around the world.

Members are either invited or are introduced to us or contact us, and have demonstrated interest in understanding the ecology of SIS species, and/ or their conservation.

Together, we aim to:

1. work for the conservation of Storks, Ibises and Spoonbills (SIS), especially species of global conservation concern, but  not excluding common species.

2. facilitate exchange of scientific and conservation-related information on SIS species among members.

3. facilitate co-operative efforts for SIS species among conservationists and researchers.

4. provide support to research and conservation efforts on SIS species.

If you wish to know more, and wish to join us, you can contact us at storkibisspoonbill (at) gmail (dot) com.

The official website of the Specialist Group is maintained separately. We will use this space to only share projects and other activities of the SG that were conducted at, and supported via, the Nature Conservation Foundation.

Paintedstorkflock saman1

A Painted Stork flock rests in a fallow field. (India; K S Gopi Sundar)

The SIS-SG Logo

The logo was designed by Swati Kittur and Gopi Sundar. Additional tweaks by L. Shyamal and Team Conceptz and Beyond (New Delhi) helped provide a polished and usable logo.

The logo showcases: 

(1) endangered SIS species, represented by the Milky Stork;

(2) geographically restricted and poorly-studied species, represented by the Red-naped Ibis;

(3) very widespread species, represented by the Eurasian Spoonbill. 

The logo was unanimously approved by the membership and IUCN SSC in June 2016.

Below, you can see the official logo of the group, and one alternative that was created during the selection process.

Sissg logo

The official logo of the SIS-SG (top), and one of the alternatives that was created during the selection process (below).


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