The very long, slightly decurved, yellow bill is diagnostic. During the breeding season the naked facial skin is red and the wing coverts and back are tinged with pink. In flight it appears similar to White Stork but differs in having a black tail.
Juvenile is brownish above and washed with grey-brown below, becoming whiter with age. The facial skin, bill and legs are duller than those of adult.
Lakes, large rivers and estuaries.
Normally silent except during the breeding season, when it gives loud squeaks and hisses.