White stork

Species profile

Name: the white stork (Ciconia ciconia) is a large bird in the stork family.

Appearance: their feathers are mainly white, with black tips on their wings. Adults have long red legs and long pointed red beaks.

Size: white storks measure around 1.1 metres from beak to tail with wingspans of up to 2.1 metres.

Diet: white storks are carnivores, eating a range of prey including insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and small birds. They feed in grassy meadows, farmlands, and shallow wetlands.

Did you know: due to their large size, predation on vermin, and habitat of nesting close to human houses, white storks have played a key role in human folklore for thousands of years.  Greek and Roman mythology portray storks as models of parental devotion, with writers claiming that elderly storks fly to islands where they are transformed into humans as a reward for their parental efforts.

In European folklore, the stork is responsible for bringing babies to new parents. According to legend, storks find babies in caves or marshes and bring them to households in a basket. The babies are then given to the mother or dropped down the chimney. Households signal when they want children by placing sweets for the storks on the window sill. From Germany, the legend has spread around the world to the Philippines and South America.

Location: they can be found in areas of open grassland, particularly where they are wet or seasonally flooded. Their range covers Europe, northwest Africa, southwest Asia, and southern Africa.

Where to see white storks

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see white storks in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
very high
very good

Photo credit: blickpixel under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay

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