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 1 Schulz, H. 1999. Der Weltbestand des Weisstorchs (Ciconia ciconia) – Ergebnisse des 5. Internationalen Weisstorchzensus 1994/95. In: Schulz, H. (eds)(1999) : Weissstorch im Aufwind? – White Storks on the up? Proc. Int. Symp. on the White Stork, Hamburg 1996 – NABU (Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V.), Bonn : 335-350.




Spain is a very important bottleneck area on the western flyway of the White Stork. 99,9% of the storks avoid crossing the Mediterranean Sea and choose the shortest way to Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar near Tarifa.


The majority of the birds passing along Tarifa are storks that were breeding in Spain. The Spanish population is close to 80.000 individuals. The number of breeding pairs doubled and this increase was well visible during the counts at Tarifa. In the autumn of 1976, 50.281 storks were counted (Bernis) while in 1985 only 27.414 birds were counted. Respectively in 1996 and 1998, they counted 91.416 en 113.006 storks during the counts of project ‘Migres’ (Fernandez-Cruz). The storks born in Flanders arrive at Tarifa only at the end of the migration season, so it is difficult for them to find storks that want to continue to migrate. Researchers of the project ‘Migres’ counted in 1998, 97.566 passing storks between 21 July and 25 August, 13.050 between 26 and 31 August and 2.390 between 1 en 23 September.


Just before they try to cross to Marocco the storks gather in big flocks near Chiclana de la frontera, Algeciras, Cadiz en Medina Sidonia. The large numbers of local storks attract the migrating birds and keep them grounded.




Since the 1980s there are large numbers of White Storks wintering in Spain. In 1991 and 1992 they counted already 3.000 storks in the valley of the Guadalquivir. In 1995, there were 3.900 storks in the same area and in the whole of Spain they counted 7.600 storks. Large concentrations of wintering storks are found on the garbage dumps of Sevilla, Cadiz, Medina Sidonia, Merida and Madrid.


More info


For all information on the protection of birds in Spain (SEO-BirdLife Spanje).



One of the largest White Stork colonies can be found in Alfaro.