Stork Bite Birthmarks

When you look at your newborn baby, you may notice a variety of small spots and marks, mainly on their face and head. Most of these will vanish over time. The most commonly encountered marks are little red ones referred to as stork bites or stork marks. The scientific term for stork bites is naevus simplex. They are also often known as salmon patches. Read more about this type of birthmark, including how to identify it and how long it lasts.

What Is a Stork Bite?

A stork bite is a v-shaped pink or red patch of skin that typically appears on your baby’s forehead, upper eyelids and the nape of the neck. It's a common type of birthmark known scientifically as naevus simplex. Stork marks are present at birth but gradually fade until disappearing completely. You may find them more noticeable when your little one cries.

How Common Is a Stork Bite?

Stork bites are a very common type of birthmark and can be found in around 40% of all babies.

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Why Is It Called a Stork Bite?

The name stork bite originates from the fact that this kind of birthmark is often located on the back of the head or neck, an area where, according to folklore, a stork might carry a baby in its beak when delivering it to the parents. Of course, we all know that it’s the mum who does all the true hard work when it comes to delivering a baby!

What Causes Stork Marks and Salmon Patches in Babies?

Stork bites are caused by capillary (blood vessel) malformations, which create flat, reddish patches of skin that typically fade over time.

Do Stork Marks Go Away?

Most stork bites tend to fade during your baby’s first few months; however, marks on the forehead may take up to four years to disappear. Patches on the back of the neck can also last longer.

Check in with your doctor if the stork mark is located in an atypical area and/or if it doesn’t fade within a couple of years. In this case, it may not actually be a stork bite, but another type of birthmark.

Are Stork Bites Harmful?

No, stork marks are not associated with a serious medical condition and they don’t require treatment. If you’re uncertain whether your baby has a stork bite or a different skin condition—or have any other questions about your baby’s skin or health—ask your midwife, health visitor or doctor.

How Do You Know If Your Baby Has a Stork Bite?

If your baby has a pinkish patch on their eyelid, forehead, nose, upper lip, lower back, or back of the head or neck, it may be a stork bite or salmon patch.

See your child’s doctor if you’re worried about a birthmark. They may ask you to monitor the mark and determine whether the pinkish patch is a stork mark or another type of baby rash.

How Do You Treat a Stork Bite?

Stork bites don’t require treatment. Stork marks on the forehead or eyelids usually fade by the time your baby is 2 years old. Those on the back of the head or nape of the neck can sometimes take longer to disappear.

The Bottom Line

Stork bites and salmon patches are nothing to be concerned about. Although these red or salmon-coloured patches may look prominent at first, they most often fade in time. This is just one of the many ways in which your child will grow and develop over the first few years of their life and beyond.

How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.