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Map legend
Breeding area western population
Wintering area western population
Breeding area eastern population
Wintering area eastern population
breeding area, eastern race White Stork Ciconia ciconia asiatica
possible wintering area eastern race

Ciconia ciconia ciconia

The river Elbe forms the boundary between storks of the western and the eastern population. Birds of both populations differ in the migration direction they choose, southwest and southeast respectively.

Every ten years are scientist of all countries in the breeding area of the White Storks counting the number of breeding pairs and estimating their breeding success rate. This research was in 1984/85 and 1994/95 coordinated by Dr. Holger Schulz of the Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU), the German partner of BirdLife International. BirdLife International is a worldwide active NGO for the protection of birds and their habitat. Natuurreservaten vzw is the Flemish partner. The result of the survey in 1994/95 is published in the proceedings of the Stork conference in September 1996 in Hamburg, Germany (go to ‘atlas’).

In 1984, the population of White Storks was estimated to be 135.000 pairs and in 1994/95 the estimation was 166.000 pairs, an increase with 23 percent !  A really good sign is that the increase was observed both in the eastern and the western population.

The western population breeds in Europe from Germany (west of the river Elbe) to Spain and Portugal and in North Africa in Marocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The western population is believed to be close to 33.000 pairs, of which 28.000 are breeding in Europe. In 1984, there were only 16.000 pairs in the European part of the western population (this is an increase with 75 percent ! in 10 years time.
White Storks have in general 2 young per nest, but not all adults breed every year. The breeding success depends largely on the weather and food conditions. The population of adults, young and non-breeding adults at the end of the breeding season (July) is estimated to be around 137.500 individuals.

The eastern population is breeding east of the river Elbe in Germany to Moscow in Russia and southwards to central and southern Europe and Turkey. The largest population is found in Poland, White Russia and the Baltic States. The eastern population is estimated to be close to 138.000 breeding pairs (in 1984, 119.000 pairs were breeding). Together with young and non-breeding birds the number of storks in the eastern population is estimated to be close to 575.000 birds.

Wintering areas

The western population of the White Stork winters in western Africa, south of the Sahara in the Sahel. This is in Senegal, the south of Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cameroon en Chad. The eastern population of the White Stork is wintering in North Africa in Chad and Sudan and in eastern Africa from Kenya and Tanzania to South Africa.