Scientific Name: Ciconia nigra
Name: Black Stork
The black stork is a large bird, measuring between 95 and 100 cm (37 and 39 in) in length with a 145-to-155 cm (57-to-61 in) wingspan, and weighing around 3 kg (6.6 lb). Standing as tall as 102 cm (40 in), it has long red legs, a long neck and a long, straight, pointed red beak. It bears some resemblance to Abdim's stork (C. abdimii), which can be distinguished by its much smaller build, predominantly green bill, legs and feet, and white rump and lower back. The plumage is black with a purplish green sheen, except for the white lower breast, belly, armpits, axillaries and undertail coverts. The breast feathers are long and shaggy, forming a ruff which is used in some courtship displays. The black stork has brown irises, and bare red skin around its eyes. The sexes are identical in appearance, except that males are larger than females on average. Moulting takes place in spring, with the iridescent sheen brighter in new plumage. It walks slowly and steadily on the ground and like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched. The juvenile resembles the adult in plumage, but the areas corresponding to the adult black feathers are browner and less glossy. The scapulars, wing and upper tail coverts have pale tips. The legs, bill and bare skin around the eyes are greyish green. It could possibly be confused with the juvenile yellow-billed stork, but the latter has paler wings and mantle, a longer bill and white under the wings.
Size in cm:
Size in Inch
white (Bird may have more colors)
The black stork mainly eats fish, including small cyprinids, pikes, roaches, eels, budds, perches, burbots, sticklebacks and muddy loaches (Misgurnus and Cobitis). It may feed on amphibians, small reptiles, crabs, mammals and birds, and invertebrates such as snails, molluscs, earthworms, and insects like water beetles and their larvae.
Habit and habited:
Keeps in pairs of small parties. Often very shy and wary. Forages by walking with measured strides in shallow water. Inland freshwaters including mashes and rivers.
The black stork (Ciconia nigra) is a large bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae. Measuring on average 95 to 100 cm (37 to 39 in) from beak tip to end of tail with a 145-to-155 cm (57-to-61 in) wingspan, the adult black stork has mainly black plumage, with white underparts, long red legs and a long pointed red beak. A widespread but uncommon species, it breeds in scattered locations across Europe (predominantly in Spain, and central and eastern parts), and Asia to the Pacific Ocean. It is a long-distance migrant, with European populations wintering in tropical Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asian populations in the Indian subcontinent. When migrating between Europe and Africa, it avoids crossing the Mediterranean Sea and detours via the Levant in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west. An isolated, non-migratory, population occurs in Southern Africa.
Unlike the closely related white stork, the black stork is a shy and wary species. It is seen singly or in pairs, usually in marshy areas, rivers or inland waters. It feeds on amphibians, small fish and insects, generally wading slowly in shallow water stalking its prey. Breeding pairs usually build nests in large forest trees—most commonly deciduous but also coniferous—which can be seen from long distances, as well as on large boulders, or under overhanging ledges in mountainous areas. The female lays two to five greyish-white eggs, which become soiled over time in the nest. Incubation takes 32 to 38 days, with both sexes sharing duties, and fledging takes 60 to 71 days.
The black stork is considered to be a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but its actual status is uncertain. Despite its large range, it is nowhere abundant, and it appears to be declining in parts of its range, such as in India, China and parts of Western Europe, though increasing in others such as the Iberian Peninsula. Various conservation measures have been taken for the black stork, like the Conservation Action Plan for African black storks by Wetlands International. It is also protected under the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.