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White Stork
A bird with a spectacular presence


This large, conspicuous bird is without any doubt one of the most popular birds in Belgium. This has more to do with the fact that the stork features in many historic tales, rather than its numerousness. This popular soaring bird was close to be extinct in western Europe but has made a come back in the last decade.


 

 

                          Photo: E. Brouwers (Aminal)
The Stork family

This large, conspicuous bird is without any doubt one of the most popular birds in Belgium. This has more to do with the fact that the stork features in many historic tales, rather than its numerousness. This popular soaring bird was close to be extinct in western Europe but has made a come back in the last decade.The White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) belongs with 19 other species to the Stork family. With herons and ibises they are part of the stork like species (Ciconiiformes), with a total of 113 species.

Classe Aves
Ordo Ciconiiformes
Subordo Ciconiae
Family Ciconiidae
Genus Mycteriini

Genus Mycteria
Mycteria americana  Wood Stork
Mycteria cinerea  Milky Stork
Mycteria ibis   Yellow-billed Stork
Mycteria leucocephala Painted Stork

Genus Anastomus
Anastomus oscitans  Asian Openbill
Anastomus lamelligerus African Openbill
(A.l. lamelligerus en A.l. madagascariensis)

Genus Ciconiini

Genus Ciconia
Ciconia nigra  Black Stork
Ciconia abdimii Abdim Stork
Ciconia episcopus Woolly-necked Stork
(C.e. microscelis, C.e. episcopus en C.e. neglecta)
Ciconia stormi Storm’s Stork
Ciconia maguari Maguari Stork
Ciconia ciconia European White Stork
(C.c. ciconia en C.c. asiatica)
Ciconia boyciana Oriental White Stork

Geslacht Leptoptilini

Genus Ephippiorhynchus
Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus  Black-necked Stork
(E.a. asiaticus en E.a. australis)
Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis Saddlebill

Genus Jabiru
Jabiru mycteria   Jabiru

Genus Leptoptilos
Leptoptilos javanicus   Lesser Adjutant
Leptoptilos dubius   Greater Adjutant
Leptoptilos crumeniferus  Marabou

Stork voices
Storks sometimes make sissing and puffing sounds. This is often the start of the typical bill clattering of the species. The birds bow their head to the front to throw it fast backwards and than move their head up and down to their back, clattering continuously. The ritual ends when the storks move their head forward and to the ground. There are several variations on this ritual, which is part of the greetings ceremony or aggressive behaviour.
Keeping the balance


Many wader species stay often on only one leg. One of the reasons birds do this is because of the regulation of their body temperature. When it is cold and windy they can loose a lot of warmth, and thus energy, through their slim legs. By putting one leg between the body feathers they are better isolated and keep the balance on one leg.

When it is hot, like in the wintering areas in Africa, storks stand with their legs in the water to cool off. The stature of the stork permits it to stand effortless on one leg for a longer period.


Passport

·        Height                                                      1 m

·        Weight                                                      3-5 kg

·        Wing span                                                150-170 cm

·        Broad wings, perfect for soaring

·        Red bill, in the shape of a dagger

·        Red, long stilts with reduced webbed feet

·        White coverts

·        Black greater and smaller primaries

·        Preen gland

·        Maximal age :                                          +30 years

 

Stork and heron

Related but easy to identify with specific clues

White Stork

Grey heron

Red bill and legs

Grey-blackish bill and legs

White body feathers with black primaries

Grey-blue feathers

Flies with the neck stretched

Flies with the neck in S-shape, head is resting on the back

Flies with the wings stretched

Flies with the wings bent downwards