The Painted Stork is a resident bird and not migratory, though occasionally with short distance movements. It is very common at shallow shore areas of tanks and at ponds and in all swamp areas and on some flooded paddy fields of Sri Lanka’ dry zone, even at lagoons, though it prefers freshwater. The main dispersal area is the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast-Asia, Cambodia in particular.
It usually lives in smaller flocks but, depending on quantities of fish, can assemble in large flocks and larger lakes. Small fish is the favourite food. They sweep their half open in water their prey. Painted storks also eat frogs, water-snakes and lizards.
When resting, it stands upright with the beak pointing steeply downwards, and often clasps the tarsus of one leg with the other foot. Another resting posture is squatting on the hocks. Like some other large storks, it has a habit of “whitewashing” its legs by squirting excreta over them. At night it usually roosts on big trees. Bill-clappering belongs to its courtship. The breeding season of Sri Lanka Painted Storks is in the northern hemisphere winter months, whereas the breeding season in northern India is August and in southern India October. Nesting is in large colonies and in association with other species of wading birds, particularly with Spot-billed pelican.