White stork

   ›      ›   White stork - Ciconia ciconia.

The white stork (Ciconia ciconia) belongs to the family Ciconiidae. The white stork is distributed in Africa, Europe, west Asia and the Indian subcontinent. There are two recognized subspecies. The subspecies C. c. ciconia occurs in north Africa, Europe, west Asia and southern Africa. They winter in tropical and southern Africa. Some birds have been recorded to winter in India.

The subspecies C. c. asiatica occurs in Turkestan and winters mainly in India.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had categorized and evaluated these stork species and had listed them as of 'Least Concern'.

The white stork is a large bird, measuring 100 to 110 cm in length and weighing 2,500 to 4,500 grams. It has a wingspan of 150 to 200 cm. Its standing height is 100 to 125 cm. Male storks are larger than the females.

The plumage is whitish, with black tail. The beak is long pointed and red. The orbital skin is black. The long legs are reddish in color. It is considered that the red coloration of the beak and legs is derived from the carotenoids, astaxanthin obtained from the food. These storks feed on insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and small birds.

Indian birds - White stork - Ciconia ciconia
Indian birds - White stork - Ciconia ciconia

These storks inhabit grassy meadows, farmland and shallow wetlands, avoiding wooded areas, tall grass and shrubs. They are migratory birds and migrate to warmer tropical and subtropical regions in the winter.

Flocks of thousands of white storks have been recorded on migration routes and at wintering areas in Africa. They nest on tall trees and even on buildings. The nest usually contains four eggs. Parents take turns to feed the chicks.

Biological classification of Ciconia ciconia
Species:C. ciconia
Binomial name:Ciconia ciconia
Distribution:Europe, Africa and the Indian subcontinent
Feeding habits:young birds, fish, molluscs, crustaceans, reptiles and small mammals
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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