Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
[order] Ciconiiformes | [family] Ciconiidae | [latin] Ciconia nigra | [UK] Black Stork | [FR] Cigogne noire | [DE] Schwarzstorch | [ES] Cigüeña Negra | [IT] Cicogna nera | [NL] Zwarte Ooievaar
spanwidth min.: 173 cm
spanwidth max.: 205 cm
size min.: 90 cm
size max.: 105 cm
incubation min.: 35 days
incubation max.: 36 days
fledging min.: 63 days
fledging max.: 71 days
eggs min.: 2
eggs max.: 5
The Black Stork Ciconia nigra is a large waterbird, in adult plumage glossy black in colour, with white underparts and red bill and legs. Non-breeding adult has plumage and bare parts duller. Juvenile all dingy brown with dull green bare parts.
Found in variety of wetland sites: swamps, margins of rivers and lakes, lagoons, alkaline lakes and marine mudflats. Not usually in extensive open areas.It breeds in lowland moist forests by open waters, streams, pools or banks of rivers and lakes and it also breeds in mountainous regions. It usually nests in trees and sometimes rock outcrops (and caves) and it prefers to nest in areas not subject to human disturbance.
This stork inhabits a large part of Eurasia and also South Africa. Some birds of Southern Europe are sedentary, but most European populations winter in Sub-Saharan Africa. The total population of the European Union amounts to 400-470 breeding pairs. It has undergone a dramatic decrease between 1850 and 1950, and the species has disappeared from many regions. Since 1970 an increase has been noticed in several countries, and some regions of Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg have been colonised again. The population of the European Union represents only 4% of the total European population, however, and the global trends are unknown.
Fish, frogs also amphibia, insects, snails, crabs and small reptiles, mammals and birds. Usually forages in shallow water, catching prey with a sharp stab of bill.
Starts towards spring in Palearctic. N in Africa mostly in cool dry season. Solitary nester, in forest trees. Large stick nest, lined with moss, grass and leaves, cemented together with earth. 3-4 eggs, incubation 32-38 days. chicks have white down. Sexual maturity at 3 year old.
Migratory; partially resident population in Spain; S African birds disperse after breeding with local, mostly altitudinal movements. W Palearctic birds mostly skirt Mediterranean, though less so than C.coconia, because more capable of sustained flapping flight; few, if any, cross equator. Migration to and from Europe peaks in Mar/Apr and Sept, C. 2 weeks later than C.ciconia. Migration spread fairly evenly throughout day. In India mostly in small groups, often associating with C.episcopus. Reported foraging almost 10 km from nest in Poland.