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White Stork

Stork, White

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Description

The White Stork is a large stork, mainly white, with black on the bird’s wings. Adults have long orange-red legs and long pointed orange-red beaks. The skin around the eyes is black (looks like eyeliner) and the iris are brown or dark grey. Males are larger than females. Juveniles have duller plumage.

Classification

Class
Aves
Order
Ciconiiformes
Family
Ciconidae
Genus
Ciconia
Species
C. ciconia
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Length (beak tip to end of the tail)
100–115 cm (39–45 in)
Weight
2.5-4.4 kg (6.3- 11 pounds)
Wingspan
155–215 cm (61–85 in)

Social Life
They migrate from northern Europe and west central Asia to Africa south of the Sahara and southern India every fall. They are dependent on thermals (wind currents caused by temperature changes) so avoid large bodies of water and forested areas which do not have thermals. They use the thermals to fly/coast 1200-1500m (3000-4000 feet) in the air. Without thermals White Storks would have to flap their wings vigorously, using about 25% more energy. They tend to migrate in large groups, in mid-morning to late afternoon when thermals are more dependable.

The Mediterranean Sea lies between their breeding grounds in Northern Europe and their winter habitat in Africa. To deal with this, the birds follow two well defined routes around the Mediterranean, crossing at the Straits of Gibraltar in the West and the Bosporus in the east.

There are two very precise divisions of the population. Those from Western Europe use the Straits of Gibraltar route and winter in West Africa. Birds from Alsace east use the Turkish route to southern and eastern Africa.

While migrating, White Storks drop down to feed every day as they can’t build up fat reserves the way smaller birds such as passerines (songbirds) can. They frequently pause in North Africa where they prey on locusts, before heading south again.

White Storks are gregarious, preferring to be in groups, whether nesting or migrating. They allopreen, grooming the heads of their partners or chicks.

White Storks communicate by beak clattering. They rapidly open and close their beaks to make a rattling sound. This sound is amplified by their throat pouches. They also use an up-down head movement to greet each other.

Habitat and Range
Open lowland areas, often wetlands, but also grass, steppe and cultivated areas. White storks avoid areas with dense vegetation and cold, wet weather. They migrate from northern Europe and west central Asia to Africa south of the Sahara and southern India every fall.

Diet
Carnivores, their diet is varied including amphibians, small birds and mammals, reptiles, fish. Like the Abdim’s and Saddlebills, they will congregate at the site of army worm and locust swarms and grass fires.

Lifespan
33-35 years

Predators
Chicks can be vulnerable to snakes and airborne predators such as hawks. Most of the threat comes from habitat alteration, such as drainage of wetland or excessive use of pesticide.

Reproduction
White storks reach sexual maturity about 4 years. Breeding starts in February through April in the European and Asian parts of their range. They tend to congregate with nests often close together. White Storks build a large stick nest, sometimes 2.4 m (2.2 yards) deep, lined with soft material such as paper or turf, usually in a tree or the roof of a building. They will also use other man-made items such as telephone poles or pylons. The same nest is reused year after year.

The female lays about 4 eggs that hatch after 33-34 days. Chicks have white down and black beaks; they fledge at 58-64 days.

While usually monogamous, bigamy has been recorded, with one male paired with two different females on two different nests.

Information

Description

The White Stork is a large stork, mainly white, with black on the bird’s wings. Adults have long orange-red legs and long pointed orange-red beaks. The skin around the eyes is black (looks like eyeliner) and the iris are brown or dark grey. Males are larger than females. Juveniles have duller plumage.

Classification

Class
Aves
Order
Ciconiiformes
Family
Ciconidae
Genus
Ciconia
Species
C. ciconia
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Length (beak tip to end of the tail)
100–115 cm (39–45 in)
Weight
2.5-4.4 kg (6.3- 11 pounds)
Wingspan
155–215 cm (61–85 in)

Social Life
They migrate from northern Europe and west central Asia to Africa south of the Sahara and southern India every fall. They are dependent on thermals (wind currents caused by temperature changes) so avoid large bodies of water and forested areas which do not have thermals. They use the thermals to fly/coast 1200-1500m (3000-4000 feet) in the air. Without thermals White Storks would have to flap their wings vigorously, using about 25% more energy. They tend to migrate in large groups, in mid-morning to late afternoon when thermals are more dependable.

The Mediterranean Sea lies between their breeding grounds in Northern Europe and their winter habitat in Africa. To deal with this, the birds follow two well defined routes around the Mediterranean, crossing at the Straits of Gibraltar in the West and the Bosporus in the east.

There are two very precise divisions of the population. Those from Western Europe use the Straits of Gibraltar route and winter in West Africa. Birds from Alsace east use the Turkish route to southern and eastern Africa.

While migrating, White Storks drop down to feed every day as they can’t build up fat reserves the way smaller birds such as passerines (songbirds) can. They frequently pause in North Africa where they prey on locusts, before heading south again.

White Storks are gregarious, preferring to be in groups, whether nesting or migrating. They allopreen, grooming the heads of their partners or chicks.

White Storks communicate by beak clattering. They rapidly open and close their beaks to make a rattling sound. This sound is amplified by their throat pouches. They also use an up-down head movement to greet each other.

Habitat and Range
Open lowland areas, often wetlands, but also grass, steppe and cultivated areas. White storks avoid areas with dense vegetation and cold, wet weather. They migrate from northern Europe and west central Asia to Africa south of the Sahara and southern India every fall.

Diet
Carnivores, their diet is varied including amphibians, small birds and mammals, reptiles, fish. Like the Abdim’s and Saddlebills, they will congregate at the site of army worm and locust swarms and grass fires.

Lifespan
33-35 years

Predators
Chicks can be vulnerable to snakes and airborne predators such as hawks. Most of the threat comes from habitat alteration, such as drainage of wetland or excessive use of pesticide.

Reproduction
White storks reach sexual maturity about 4 years. Breeding starts in February through April in the European and Asian parts of their range. They tend to congregate with nests often close together. White Storks build a large stick nest, sometimes 2.4 m (2.2 yards) deep, lined with soft material such as paper or turf, usually in a tree or the roof of a building. They will also use other man-made items such as telephone poles or pylons. The same nest is reused year after year.

The female lays about 4 eggs that hatch after 33-34 days. Chicks have white down and black beaks; they fledge at 58-64 days.

While usually monogamous, bigamy has been recorded, with one male paired with two different females on two different nests.