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White Stork - BirdForum Opus

C. c. ciconia
Photo © by A. Meir
Eilat, Israel, April 2006

Alternative name: European White Stork

Ciconia ciconia


100-125 cm (39-49")

  • Mainly white
  • Black flight feathers
  • Long red bill and legs (duller on juveniles)

Males average slightly larger than females.

C. c. ciconia in flight
Photo © by bengtfalke
Teich Bird Reserve, Bordeaux, France, 5 April 2007

Similar Species

The Oriental Stork (Ciconia boyciana) of the Russian Far East and China is similar, but decidedly larger, with darker bill and red (not black) orbital. It also has less black on its secondaries. Maguari Stork (Ciconia maguari) of South America has a dark bill and red facial skin.


Europe (north to Estonia), northwest Africa, and southwest Asia (east to southern Kazakhstan).
It winters mainly in tropical Africa, down to the south of South Africa, and also in the Indian subcontinent. A good proportion of European storks winter in Spain.


Formerly included with the Oriental Stork (Ciconia boyciana)


There are two subspecies.[1]

  • C. c. ciconia:
  • C. c. asiatica: Slightly larger with heavier bill.


Open farmland areas with access to marshy wetlands.



Feet and neck extended when flying.


They build a stick nest in trees, on buildings, or special platforms, in loose colonies.


The diet includes frogs, large insects, young birds, lizards and rodents.


Not a very vocal bird, but claps the bill, especially on approach of partner or intruder.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2018, August 5). White stork. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 22, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=White_stork&oldid=853490809
  3. Elliott, A., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2018). White Stork (Ciconia ciconia). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52744 on 23 August 2018).

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