White Stork

The White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It breeds in the warmer parts of Europe, but recently have been sighted in Britain. It winters in tropical Africa. They breed in open farmland areas with access to marshy wetlands. It builds a stick nest in trees, on buildings or on special platforms.

This is a huge bird, 39 inches tall with a 79 inch wingspan. It is completely white except for the black wing flight feathers and its red bill and legs. Its broad wings help it to soar over thermals of hot air for sustained long flight. Since thermals form only over land, storks must cross the Mediterranean at the narrowest points. Many hundreds can be seen flying through the straits of Gibraltar.

Like most storks, the White Stork feeds mainly on frogs and large insects, but also young birds, lizards and rodents. It is mostly silent except for a noisy bill-clattering when adults meet at nesting sites.