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613 illustration

White stork

Ciconia ciconia

White storks have a body length of up to 120 centimetres and weigh around 4 kilograms. Their plumage is mainly white with black flight feathers and some black wing coverts (upper feathers that help smooth airflow over the wings). Adults have long red legs and beaks. The white stork stands over a metre tall. In flight, its neck is stretched forward and its long legs are extended backwards. The adult's main sound is a noisy bill-clattering, which is amplified by its throat pouch.

The white stork breeds in open habitats and is not commonly found in Western Europe. It nests in residential areas in trees, on buildings, and sometimes on power transmission poles. Flocks can be found in some areas of Belarus.

The white stork eats a wide range of prey, including insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and small birds. Its large nests are built from sticks and lined with soft material such as hay, rags, paper shreds or fur. The female lays four or five white eggs. White storks winter in South Africa.

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