Common Name: White Stork Scientific Name: Ciconia ciconia ciconia
LEAST CONCERN White Stork Distribution: Africa & Europe Habitat: Freshwater & Grasslands Height: 1m Weight: 2.3 - 4.4kg Diet: Carnivorous
The white stork is a large wading bird. These storks have white plumage on their head, neck and body. The wing feathers are tipped with black which has a green sheen. The storks eyes are brown and the bill and legs are orange-red in colour. Storks are migratory birds. They winter in south and central Africa and breed in Morocco, Spain, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran. There are two main migration routes. The first uses the Straits of Gibraltar and birds from west of the French/German border use this route. The other route is the Bosporus route and birds going to south Africa use this route. White storks are found by lakes and rivers. The white stork is an opportunistic species, and as such, takes a range of food stuffs. They eat frogs, insects, lizards, snakes, tadpoles, chicks, rodents and earthworms. They forage by walking along with their beaks pointed towards the ground. When they spot some prey, they move the head back slightly before plunging at the prey, beak first. The white stork forms loose colonies for breeding and several pairs may nest together. The storks form monogamous pairs for the duration of the breeding season only. After breeding they split up and the storks go their separate ways. Generally, the males arrive back at the nest site first and he displays for the females. Pairs are formed through dancing and communication. The nest is large and made of sticks and branches, lined with grass and twigs. Both sexes collect material for the nest, but the male collects more and nests can reach up to 2 m in diameter and be up to 3 m deep. The female lays 3 â€“ 5 eggs which they incubates for 33 - 34 days. The chicks are ready to fledge after 8 â€“ 9 weeks. They nest in trees, on the roofs top and up telegraph poles.