What to Know About a Stork Bite

A stork bite (nevus simplex) is a type of birthmark. Newborns with a nevus simplex are born with a flat spot that may be red or pink and develop in different body areas. It may occur in up to 20% to 30% of newborns.

Depending on where the nevus simplex is found, it is referred to by different names, including stork bites (on the back of the neck), angel kisses (on the face, between the eyes), and salmon patches (other areas of the body). These types of birthmarks are typically harmless and go away on their own.

This article discusses the causes, treatment options, and possible complications of stork bites. 

A family smiling at a newborn baby

Abraham Gonzalez Fernandez / Getty Images

What Is a Stork Bite?

Stork bites (nevus simplex) are harmless (benign) birthmarks found in newborns of all races and ethnicities. They can occur in 30% to 40% of fair-skinned newborns and are less common in newborns with darker skin. They can be pink, red, or salmon-colored, are flat to the skin, and do not hurt or itch.

A nevus simplex is a vascular malformation from small blood vessels that do not fully form or close properly. These marks comprise extra blood vessels (capillaries) and may feel warm to the touch because of the additional blood flow.

Stork bites are usually referred to by different names based on where they appear on the body. The most common areas include:

  • Stork bite: Back of neck (because of the myth of storks carrying babies by the backs of their necks)
  • Angel kiss: Face, between the eyes (appears as a kiss mark)
  • Salmon patch: Anywhere on the body (usually salmon in color)

About 95% of birthmarks on the face fade within the first two years of life. Treatment is generally not necessary. 

Port Wine Stains vs. Stork Bites

Another vascular birthmark type is a port wine stain (nevus flammeus). These birthmarks are pink, red, or purple and usually develop on the face. Like stork bites, they are made up of extra capillaries and are visible at birth. Port wine stains are different from stork bites in a few ways, including:

  • They are usually larger than stork bites and affect several areas of the body.
  • They do not go away on their own.
  • They tend to grow as the child grows.
  • They may darken and thicken over time.

What Causes a Stork Bite?

A stork bite is a vascular malformation caused by a collection of blood vessels. They form when tiny blood vessels (capillaries) do not close properly while the baby is in the womb. When your baby is born, this group of capillaries appears as a red, pink, or salmon mark on the skin. 

Will a Stork Bite Disappear?

Most stork bites and types of nevus simplex birthmarks go away on their own. They typically resolve by the time your baby turns 1 or 2 years old. 

It is common for stork bites to appear darker when your baby is active or upset. This is due to the increased blood flow with activity. It does not mean that the birthmark is getting darker over time.

How Is a Stork Bite Diagnosed?

A stork bite is often diagnosed by a pediatrician or dermatologist, a medical doctor specializing in treating skin, hair, and nails conditions. Even though most birthmarks are harmless, they should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. Although rare, a birthmark could be the first sign of a chronic disease. 

A dermatologist will likely take a thorough medical history and perform a physical exam. They may use a Wood’s lamp to see parts of the skin not visible to the naked eye. This tool uses a special light and is not invasive. 

Laser Treatments for Stork Bites

Stork bites usually resolve on their own by toddlerhood and do not require treatment. It is rare for a stork bite to last into adulthood. When this occurs, hair often covers it and does not require treatment. 

Talk to a dermatologist if you are concerned about your child’s birthmark. Certain birthmarks, such as port wine stains, can be treated with laser therapy. Laser therapy can also prevent the mark from growing and darkening. Laser therapy is often recommended because port wine stains do not resolve on their own. 

Are Stork Bites the Sign of Another Condition?

Stork bites are harmless birthmarks that do not mean your child has an underlying disease or health condition. This type of birthmark does not affect a child’s overall health. 

Birthmarks are common and usually benign. However, it is important to always have them examined by a healthcare provider because certain types could signify something more serious. Cafe-au-lait spots are birthmarks that may indicate neurofibromatosis, a disease that causes tumors to grow on the nerves. 

When to Contact a Healthcare Provider

Birthmarks are common in newborns and usually do not require treatment. However, it is important to see your child’s healthcare provider whenever you notice new markings or areas of pigment on their skin. Start by making an appointment with a healthcare provider or pediatrician. If your provider is concerned, they will refer you to a dermatologist. 


A stork bite is a type of birthmark, an area on the skin that looks different than the surrounding skin. A stork bite is used for nevus simplex birthmarks that appear on the back of a newborn’s neck. Other types of nevus simplex include angel kisses (on the face) and salmon patches (on the body). 

Stork bites appear flat and are red, pink, or salmon-colored. They do not hurt or itch. Most stork bites resolve independently by the time your child is 1 or 2 years old. They are common and usually do not require treatment. If you notice a birthmark on your child, see a healthcare provider. 

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Diociaiuti A, Paolantonio G, Zama M, et al. Vascular birthmarks as a clue for complex and syndromic vascular anomalies. Front Pediatr. 2021;9:730393. doi:10.3389/fped.2021.730393

  2. Gomez, Jason; Admani, Shehla. Nevus simplex: A review. Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association. 15(2):p 84-85, 3/4 2023. doi:10.1097/JDN.0000000000000730

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Baby birthmarks & rashes.

  4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Birthmarks: Signs and symptoms.

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.