Ciconia ciconia

Physical characteristics: European white storks have white feathers on the head and body and their wings are black. Their long bills and tall legs are red orange. The birds are 39 to 40 inches (100 to 102 centimeters) long from beak to tail, and they weigh between 5.1 and 9.7 pounds (2.3 and 4.4 kilograms). Their wingspan is 61 to 65 inches (155 to 165 centimeters).

Geographic range: Most European white storks spend the winters in tropical Africa and India, and they nest in Europe and western Asia. Some also live year-round at the southern tip of Africa.

Habitat: European white storks prefer open lands without tall trees or thick vegetation, usually in or near wetlands. They sometimes nest in towns and cities.

Diet: Unlike wood storks, European white storks find their food by sight. They eat a variety of animals, from insects and earthworms, to lizards, snakes, and frogs.

Most European white storks spend the winters in tropical Africa and India, and they nest in Europe and western Asia. They prefer open areas, but also nest in cities and towns. (© U. Walz/OKAPIA/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: European white storks migrate for long distances between their wintering areas in Africa and India to their nesting places in Europe and Asia. They soar high on warm air currents and follow the same migration routes year after year.

In spring, male storks arrive at the nesting place first. Males often return to the same nests used in previous years and add more sticks and grass to them. An old nest may grow to be as big as a car. Some males build new nests. Female storks arrive about a week later. The birds have a noisy courtship display: they tilt their heads back and click their bills. This clattering noise can be heard from far away. The females lay an average of four eggs. Incubation is done by both parents and eggs hatch after thirty-three to thirty-four days. At eight to nine weeks the young birds fledge, grow the feathers needed for flight.

European white storks and people: People are fond of European white storks because they say that the birds bring good luck. The birds help control pests by eating bothersome insects and other unwanted animals.

Conservation status: European white storks are listed as threatened. In Africa, people poison insects and other animals that eat crops. So the storks have less food to eat, or they eat poisoned animals and die. In Europe, many of the storks' wetlands have been turned into

Most European white storks spend the winters in tropical Africa and India, and they nest in Europe and western Asia. They prefer open areas, but also nest in cities and towns. (© U. Walz/OKAPIA/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

farms and cities. Some of the storks are hunted on their migration trips or are killed by collisions with power lines. Groups are working to protect the storks from extinction, dying out. ■


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Animal Bytes. "Marabou Stork" Sea World. animal-info/animal-bytes/animalia/eumetazoa/coelomates/ deuterostomes/chordates/craniata/aves/ciconiiformes/ marabou-stork.htm (accessed on April 25, 2004)

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Williams, Laura. "Letters From the Cabin—A Lone Russian Crusader Takes on the Communist Bureaucracy to Protect a Forest Home of the Rare Black Stork. International Wildlife (November-December

2001). Online at articleId=4&issueId=1 (accessed on April 25, 2004).

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2002) Online at articleid=522&issueid=45 (accessed on April 25, 2004)


Class: Aves Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Cathartidae Number of species: 7 species



The vultures living in the New World, North and South America, generally have dark black, brown, and gray feathers. However condors and king vultures also have some white feathers. The color of the skin on the birds' bare heads and necks are combinations of gray, red, blue, and yellow. The birds weigh between 2.1 pounds and 33 pounds (0.94 and 15 kilograms). The length of the birds in this family ranges from 23 to 53 inches (58 to 134 centimeters) from their beaks to the end of their tails.

Until recently, New World vultures were grouped with hawks as birds of prey. But scientists have found that these vultures are more similar to storks than they are to hawks. For example, their feet are weak like storks, and they do not have the strong, grasping claws that hawks use to catch live animals.


New World vultures range from southern Canada to the southern tip of South America. The turkey vulture and the black vulture are the two most common vultures in North and South America, and they are sometimes called buzzards.


These birds can live in almost any habitat, from seashores to deserts to forests, as long as they can find carrion, dead and decaying animals, to eat. All vultures hunt by soaring high and looking down for food. However turkey vultures and yellow-headed phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family

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