european nature gallery


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Black stork

The black stork 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. Incubationtakes 32 to 38 days, with both sexes sharing duties, and fledging takes 60 to 71 days.
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. Migration takes place from early August to October, with a major exodus in September. Some of the Iberian populations, and also those in southern Africa, are essentially non-migratory, though they may wander freely in the non-breeding areas. A broad-winged soaring bird, the black stork is assisted by thermals of hot air for long-distance flight, although is less dependent on them than is the white stork. Since thermals only form over land, the black stork, together with large raptors, must cross the Mediterranean at the narrowest points, and many black storks travel south through the Bosphorus, as well as the Sinai and Gibraltar. The trip is around 5,667 km (3,521 mi) via the western route and 7,000 km (4,300 mi) via the eastern route, with satellite tracking yielding an average travel time of 37 and 80 days respectively. The western route goes over the Rock of Gibraltar or over the Bay of Gibraltar, generally on a southwesterly track that takes them to the central part of the strait, from where they reach Morocco. Many birds fly around the Sahara next to the coast. About 10% of the western storks choose the passage Sicily – Cap Bon, Tunisia. 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 insectslike water beetles and their larvae.
Foraging for food takes place mostly in fresh water, though the black stork may look for food on dry land at times. The black stork wades patiently and slowly in shallow water, often alone or in a small group if food is plentiful. It has been observed shading the water with its wings while hunting. In India, it often forages in mixed species flocks with the white stork, woolly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus), demoiselle crane (Grus virgo) and bar-headed goose (Anser indicus). The black stork also follows large mammals such as deer and livestock, presumably to eat the invertebrates and small animals flushed by their presence.


(latin: Ciconia nigra)

Wednesday, 24 July 2019
created by: Marek Sarvas - výroba stránok