About animals

Interesting facts about storks


Storks are beautiful birds, about which there are many legends from the most diverse peoples of the world. This bird is considered a symbol of happiness and kindness. Moreover, storks there are many different species, sometimes completely different from each other. Only two species of storks live in Russia - white and black.

A selection of interesting facts about storks.

Not all storks are harmless. For example, the African Marabou storks are scavengers and predators. However, people there got used to them and pay no more attention to maraba than we pay to sparrows and pigeons.

White storks inhabiting the territory of Russia fly to Africa and India for the winter.

Storks feed not only on insects and frogs - they effectively fight with poisonous snakes, for example, with vipers, which storks also really like.

After wintering at the ends of the world, white storks return to their nests and put them in order. These birds are extremely attached to their homes.

The oldest known nest of storks, in which many generations of these birds lived, was inhabited by them for 381 years.

The diameter of the nest of a white stork can be up to one and a half meters, and weight up to 200-250 kg.

The free male stork “takes as a wife” the very first female flying to his nest.

Storks hatch eggs in turn - the female is engaged in this night, and the male - in the afternoon.

Cases of ignition of nests of storks, and at the same time the buildings on which they were located, were recorded. This happened due to the fact that the storks, as building material, grabbed still smoldering branches from bonfires and carried them to the nest.

Storks ruthlessly throw weak and sick chicks out of the nest.

Stork chicks begin to learn to fly at the age of two months.

The only country in which hunting for storks has always been banned is Japan.

The wingspan of a white stork can reach two meters.

The stork population in Italy was completely exterminated in the 17th century.

Going for the winter to warm lands, storks cover a distance of up to ten thousand kilometers.

Storks sleep, standing on one leg, and they change their legs without waking up.

Storks are sometimes attacked by eagles.

Most white storks live in Russia.

An interesting fact is that black storks settle away from people, and white, on the contrary, as close as possible.

Storks communicate among themselves, hissing and clicking with their beaks, since they cannot "utter" any sounds, except for a quiet squeak, due to the peculiarities of their structure.

Where did the word "stork" come from?

The origin of the word "stork" has not been established for certain, so there are many versions of its occurrence. Consonant words are found in ancient Sanskrit, Old Russian, German, Slavic languages. The most plausible version of the conversion of the German word “Heister”, which in some places in Germany is the name magpie. Probably, the word was transformed into “Geister”, and then into “Stork”. It is difficult to find an analogy between the magpie and the stork, their only related sign is the color of the plumage. It can be assumed that it lies at the basis of the name of the stork. In different regions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, there are various local names for this bird: bushel, butol, busko, batan, chernoguz, leleka, manto, geister, botsun and others. In addition, the stork is called by human names: Ivan, Gritsko, Vasil, Yasha.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos, CC0

Stork - description, description, photo. What do storks look like?

Storks are large birds. The largest species in the genus Ciconia is the white stork. The body length of both the male and the female is 110 cm, the wingspan reaches 220 cm, and the weight is 3.6 kg. One of the smaller species, the white-bellied stork, weighs about 1 kg, and its body length is 73 cm.

The beak of a stork is long, 2-3 times the length of the head, and has a conical shape. It can be straight or slightly bent to the top (like the Far Eastern stork). At the base it is tall and massive, sharp at the end, closed tightly. The tongue is smooth, sharp and, compared to the beak, small. The nostril cracks are very narrow, open right in the horn, without impressions and furrows. The color of the beak in adults of most species is red. The black-billed stork is black. In young birds, the opposite is true: black-billed stork chicks have a red or orange beak, and in chicks of other species, black beaks.

Photo by Nevit Dilmen, CC BY-SA 3.0

The iris of different types of storks is red, brown or whitish. On the head, plumage is absent on the chin, bridle and skin around the eyes. The neck of the birds is moderately long. The situation is characteristic when the neck is sharply bent back, the head is directed forward, and the beak rests among the feathery feathers. In the area of ​​the goiter, the feathers are long, sagging.

Storks have cervical air sacs that are filled with exhaled air, as they are connected to the nasal chambers. These bags are small, located under the skin and lie on the sides of the neck at the base of the head. The bag system creates an air gap between the skin and muscles.

Stork wings are long, rounded, their apex is formed by 3-5 feathers. The inner feathers on the wing are long. When folded, they reach the length of the primary feathers.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos, CC0

In flight, storks soar above the ground. This is made possible thanks to the special joint of the bones of the shoulder girdle and the structure of the wing with an elongated forearm and a shorter shoulder. These features are characteristic of large soaring birds, including birds of prey. On the wing on the first finger of the hand there is a claw.

A soaring flight is also characteristic of such birds as eagles, golden eagles, kites, vultures, buzzards, pelicans.

The tail of the storks is moderate in length, straight, slightly rounded at the apex. It consists of 12 tail feathers.

Photo by: Hans, CC0

The hind limbs of birds are extremely elongated. The metatarsus is almost equal in length to the tibia. The joint of the tibia and metatarsal bones is arranged in such a way that the protrusion located on the tibial bone head enters the depression located on the metatarsal head, and a special ligament fixes this connection, preventing the bones from slipping off. The result is a strong position of the elongated leg, holding the body purely mechanically, without muscle work. Thanks to this, the stork, having given the body balance, can stand for hours on one leg, while completely not getting tired. The structure of the legs causes some characteristic movements - slowness and springiness of the gait.

The toes of the storks are relatively short. Along each is a narrow leathery hem. The front fingers are connected at the base by a small leathery membrane, and the lowered back finger is used to support on the ground. This structure of the fingers suggests that the stork is difficult to walk in marshy places, and he gravitates to hard ground. The tibia is not supported by more than a third of its length. The bare part of the tibia and the entire metatarsus are covered with small multifaceted plates. The nails are wide, fairly flat, blunt.

Photo by: Marcel Langthim (Pixel-mixer), CC0

The color of the storks is not very diverse and consists of black and white colors. Black color can be with a green or metallic tint. The coloring of young birds differs slightly from adults slightly. There are no differences in the color of males and females, as well as color changes by season. Stork chicks have a grayish fluff; in adults, fluff is white or gray.

Representatives of the genus Ciconia do not have a voice, as they are deprived of the syrinx (vocal organ of birds) and its muscles. Instead of screaming, the stork clicks its beak, that is, it strikes its jaws against each other. White storks (Ciconia ciconia) also know how to hiss. Black storks (Ciconia nigra) rarely crack with their beak: their voice is like a cough or scream. Chicks of storks can croak, chirp, hiss and throat cries.

Photo by Frank Vassen, CC BY 2.0

Shedding Storks

Shedding occurs at storks once a year and lasts very slowly. In any month of the year you can find fresh and piercing feathers, both integumentary and large. In migratory storks, the feather changes a little faster.

Photo by: Marcel Langthim (Pixel-mixer), CC0

Where do storks live?

The family of storks (which include yabiru, marabou, saddle-billed yabiru, razini and beak storks) is distributed practically throughout the world. The habitat of birds from the stork genus covers Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and South America. Different species inhabit European countries from southern Scandinavia to the Mediterranean and from the Atlantic coast to the border with Russia. In Russia, the habitat extends throughout the country, limited to 61-63 parallel in the north. In Africa, which most researchers consider the ancestral home of storks, birds are distributed almost throughout the continent, with the exception of deserts. Storks live in South America, inhabiting the entire continent except the Andes mountain range. These birds live in many parts of Asia: in Western, Eastern, Southern, Southeast, including the islands. In some places of this range, storks are common, and in some they are quite rare.

Photo by Raman Kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0

Where do storks winter?

A stork living in the northern latitudes is a migratory bird that led a sedentary life before the ice age. Settlement is also encountered now: for example, the black-billed stork that lives in Japan does not fly away for the winter. White-bellied storks, white-necked storks, American storks and Malayan woolly-necked storks also do not fly south, as they live in warm latitudes, where they are provided with food all year round. Seasonal migrations are made by white storks, black storks and Far Eastern storks (black-billed) living in Europe, Russia, China.

The departure of white and black storks from European and Asian territories begins very early. White flies away in the last third of August or early September. Black storks migrate even earlier: from mid-August, as, for example, in some areas of Eastern Europe. In other areas, for example, in the Amur region, it was found that black storks fly away in the second decade of September: for these birds this is a rather late date. In any case, by mid-October, the nesting territories of storks are already empty.

Birds make flights during the day, at high altitude, not observing a specific system. Storks fly mainly over land, minimizing the sea sections of the path. This is due to the fact that ascending air currents formed above land are important for a soaring flight. Storks fly through the water only when they see the opposite shore. By spring, the birds come back.

Some black and white storks, settled in southern Africa, do not return to their homeland, having organized settled colonies.

Below, in the description of the species, more detailed information is given about where storks fly and in which countries they hibernate.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos, CC0

What do storks eat?

Storks eat exclusively animal food. Their food is diverse, but mainly consists of small animals, which include:

  • mammals: moles, rats, mice, field voles and other mouse-like rodents, speckled ground squirrels, young hares, weasels, ermines. In the villages, some storks can hunt chickens and ducklings,
  • little chicks
  • amphibians and reptiles: frogs, toads, various lizards, snakes (snakes, vipers),
  • large land insects and their larvae - locusts and other locusts, rags, chafers, leaf wasps, grasshoppers, bears,
  • terrestrial and aquatic mollusks, crustaceans, worms,
  • As for fish, some species of storks, such as white ones, rarely consume it. Black storks eat it much more often. A black-billed stork eats exclusively fish.

Depending on the time of year, the diet of storks changes. When small ponds dry out and become smaller amphibians, large insects are eaten. Storks swallow their prey whole. Indigestible residues (feathers, wool, scales, etc.) birds burp in the form of riddles.

By the way, storks have a wonderful ability to eat poisonous snakes without harm to themselves. Obviously, they are immune to the poison.

Birds feed on open spaces: in the steppes, vast river valleys and meadows, along river banks, swamps and other places that are clearly visible. Although storks are always in sight, they themselves can notice the danger from afar.

Storks, like all large birds, are very careful. During flights and at nights they stay together. Birds feed separately, but at the same time do not lose touch with relatives.

Photo Credit: Felix_Broennimann, CC0

How long do storks live?

The life expectancy of storks depends on the species and habitat. White storks live in nature for about 20-21 years (according to some sources, up to 33 years), in captivity, this figure may be higher. Far Eastern storks in captivity survived to 48 years. The maximum life expectancy of black storks in captivity is 31 years, while in vivo this figure is 18 years.

Types of storks, names and photos

The following species belong to the genus of storks (Ciconia):

  1. Ciconia abdimii (Lichtenstein, 1823) - white-bellied stork,
  2. Ciconia boyciana (Swinhoe, 1873) - black-billed stork, Chinese stork, Far Eastern stork, Far Eastern white stork,
  3. Ciconia ciconia (Linnaeus, 1758) - white stork:
    • Ciconia ciconia asiatica (Severtzov, 1873) - Turkestan white stork,
    • Ciconia ciconia ciconia (Linnaeus, 1758) - European white stork,
  4. Ciconia episcopus (Boddaert, 1783) - white-necked stork:
    • Ciconia episcopus episcopus (Boddaert, 1783),
    • Ciconia episcopus microscelis (G. R. Gray, 1848),
    • Ciconia episcopus neglecta (Finsch, 1904)
  5. Ciconia nigra (Linnaeus, 1758) - black stork,
  6. Ciconia maguari (Gmelin, 1789) - American stork,
  7. Ciconia stormi (W. Blasius, 1896) - Malay woolly-necked stork.

The following is a description of the species.

  • White stork(Ciconia ciconia)

lives in parts of Europe (from southern Sweden and Denmark to France and Portugal, in countries of eastern Europe), Ukraine, Russia (from the Vologda Oblast to Transcaucasia), Central Asia and northwestern Africa (from north Morocco to north Tunisia). In accordance with the habitat, two subspecies of white storks are distinguished: European (Ciconia ciconia ciconia) and Turkestan (Ciconia ciconia asiatica) The Turkestan subspecies is somewhat larger than the European one; it is found in Central Asia and some parts of Transcaucasia.

The body of white storks has a white color, which is reflected in the name. Only feathers at the ends of the wings are black, and until the bird has straightened them, it seems that the entire lower body is black. From here came the popular name of the bird - Chernoguz. Stork's beak and legs are red. The chicks have black beaks. Bare skin near the eyes and beak is red or black. The iris is dark brown or reddish. The dimensions of the wing are 55-63 cm, the tail is 21.5-26 cm, the metatarsus is 17-23.5 cm, the beak is 14-20 cm. The length of the body can reach 1.02 m. The wingspan is 1.95-2, 05m A white stork weighs 3.5-4.4 kg. Females are smaller than males.

White storks, which inhabit the western and eastern parts of Europe, fly south in different ways. Storks nesting west of the Elbe fly to the Strait of Gibraltar and overcome it in the narrowest spot. Having climbed above Spain, they plan to Africa. There, they partially remain in the west, and partially cross the Sahara, equatorial forests and stop in South Africa. Storks nesting east of the Elbe fly to the Bosphorus, flying around the Mediterranean Sea through Syria, Israel, cross the north of the Red Sea, Egypt, fly along the Nile Valley and further to South Africa. The Turkestan subspecies of the white stork mainly winters in India, in Ceylon, but some individuals wait for the winter in the Syr Darya region in Central Asia and in the Talysh mountains in Transcaucasia.

White storks settle near human habitation, as it is convenient for them to build nests on “man-made hills”. People themselves often “help” the birds in the construction, making a nest for the stork with their own hands or creating a foundation for it: they put wheels or special fortified platforms on poles, trees or farm buildings on which the birds place their future nest.

Photo by PeterRohrbeck, CC BY-SA 4.0

  • Black stork(Ciconia nigra)

the kind that shuns people.Its habitat is vast expanses of Eurasia: from Scandinavia and the Iberian Peninsula to the Far Eastern regions. The northern border of distribution reaches 61 and 63 parallels, the southern one passes through the Balkans, Crimea, Transcaucasia, Iran, Central Asia, Mongolia, and the middle part of China. The black stork winters on the African continent, in India and China. In Africa, birds fly no further than the equator. True, in the south of the mainland individuals nest that in all probability got there during migrations and remained permanently.

The color of this species of birds is dominated by black, while the black plumage casts greens, bronze or purple. White feathers grow only in the lower torso, on the back of the chest and in the axillary regions. The beak of the bird is slightly sloping upward. The legs, beak and skin around the eyes are red. The iris is brown. Young individuals have white plumage, while the legs and beak of young animals have a gray-green hue. The weight of the black stork does not exceed 3 kg, the body can reach a length of 1 meter. The length of the wing varies from 52 to 61 cm, the length of the metatarsus is 18–20 cm, the tail grows to 19–25 cm, and the length of the beak reaches 16–19.5 cm. The wingspan of the bird is 1.5–2 meters.

The black stork lives in dense forests, islands among marshes and similar inaccessible areas. He arranges nests on the lateral branches of tall trees, 1.5-2 m from the trunk. They consist of branches of different thicknesses glued together by ground and turf. In treeless areas and mountains, the bird chooses rocks, cliffs, etc. for housing. A pair of storks always nests separately from relatives. Nests are usually located at a distance of 6 km from each other. In some places, for example, Eastern Transcaucasia, the distance between them is reduced to 1 km, and sometimes 2 nests are even located on the same tree.

In clutch there are from 3 to 5 eggs, which are slightly smaller than that of a white stork. Storks are covered with a white or gray fluff, and their beak is orange at the base and greenish-yellow at the end. First, the young black storks lie, then they sit in the nest and only after 35-40 days they begin to stand up. Young storks fly out of the nest in 64-65 days after birth. Unlike other species, black storks can scream. They pronounce high and low sounds, similar to "chi-li". Beak birds crack much less often and quieter than white storks.

Photo by: Blacktom1961, CC BY-SA 4.0

  • White-bellied Stork(Ciconia abdimii)

This is an African species of storks that lives from Ethiopia to South Africa.

One of the smallest storks, reaching 73 cm in length. The weight of the bird is 1 kg. The color is dominated by black, white only chest and underwing. The beak, unlike most species, is gray. Legs are traditionally red. A distinctive feature of the white-bellied stork is the blueness of the skin around the eyes during the mating season. The eyes themselves have a red tint. Females are smaller than males. Lay 2-3 eggs.

Photo by: Bernard DUPONT, CC BY-SA 2.0

  • White-necked stork(Ciconia episcopus) has 3 subspecies:
    • Ciconia episcopus episcopus lives on the peninsulas of Hindustan, Indochina and the Philippine Islands,
    • Ciconia episcopus microscelis found in Uganda and Kenya - countries of tropical Africa,
    • Ciconia episcopus neglecta - A resident of the island of Java and islands lying on the border of the Asian and Australian biogeographic zones.

The body length of storks varies from 80 to 90 cm. The nape, neck and upper chest of birds are white and fluffy. The feathers in the lower abdomen and tail are white. The head on top is black, as if wearing a hat. The wings and upper body are black in color, there are reddish overflows on the shoulders, and the ends of the wings are turned with a greenish tint. White-necked storks live in groups or in pairs near water.

Photo by: Derek Keats, CC BY 2.0

  • Malay woolly stork(Ciconia stormi)

very small species, which is on the verge of extinction. In the world there are from 400 to 500 individuals. The size of the bird is small: from 75 to 91 cm. Black predominates in the color. The neck is white. The stork’s head is crowned with a black “cap”. The non-feathered scalp has an orange tint and yellow around the eyes. Beak and legs are red.

Malay woolly-necked storks live on some islands of Indonesia, in Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei. They live alone or in small groups, and settle near freshwater bodies of water surrounded by forests.

Photo by Sandy Cole, CC BY-SA 3.0

  • American stork(Ciconia maguari)

representative of the New World. It lives in South America.

It looks like a white stork in size and appearance. Differences: black tail, red-orange skin around the eyes, gray at the base and a bluish beak at the end and a white iris of the eyes. Stork chicks are born white, darken with age, and then acquire a parental color. The body length of the bird reaches 90 cm, the wingspan is 120 cm, the stork weighs 3.5 kg. He builds nests low: in bushes, on low trees and even on the ground, but they are always surrounded by water.

Photo by Carla Antonini, CC BY-SA 2.5 ar

Photo by Carla Antonini, CC BY-SA 2.5 ar

  • Black-billed Stork (Ciconia boyciana)

a species with many names: Amur stork, Chinese stork, Far Eastern or Far Eastern white stork. Previously, this species was considered a subspecies of the white stork. But, unlike the white one, the black-billed stork has a longer black beak, markedly sloping towards the top, red legs and bridle, a red throat sac, a whitish iris, and a silver-gray coating is present at the ends of some black feathers.

Amur stork chicks have orange-red beaks. In young individuals, black is replaced by brown. The bird is slightly larger in size than its relatives: the wing length is 62-67 cm, the beak is 19.5-26 cm, the body length is up to 1.15 m, the stork weighs up to 5.5 kg. Far Eastern storks feed exclusively on fish, for example crucian carp, loaches.

All bird names indicate its habitat: the Far East (Amur Region, Primorye, Ussuri Territory), northern China. In addition, this species is found in Japan and Korea. Black-billed storks winter mainly in southern China, on the island of Taiwan and in the Hong Kong area. Some flocks migrate for the winter to North Korea, South Korea, Japan, sometimes reaching the Philippines, Myanmar, Bangladesh and the north-eastern regions of India. In Japan, birds live in both summer and winter, not flying south in the cold season. Near the man, the black-billed stork does not settle, preferring to nest in the forests on tall trees. Nests can be located both high and lower branches. They are so heavy that sometimes the branches cannot withstand gravity and break off, as a result of which the nests fall to the ground. In clutch there are 3-5 eggs.

The Far Eastern stork is a rare species protected in Russia, Japan and China. It is listed in the Red Book of Russia, China and Korea, as well as in the International Red Book. In nature, there are no more than 3,000 individuals.

Photo by: Cory, CC BY 2.1 jp

Stork breeding

Storks lead flocks, with the exception of breeding time. Birds build nests for reuse, placing them on trees, rocks, cliffs, roofs of houses and other buildings.

  • White storks can nest in a whole flock. By the way, this species of birds accompanies people and settles not only on trees, not far from human housing, but also on the roofs of buildings, water towers, factory pipes, power transmission towers, poles and other structures. White storks choose human buildings, as they are convenient for nesting, although birds do not need people in the neighborhood.
  • Black storks nest away from people.

Returning from wintering, storks often repair the old nest, lining it with sticks, hay, rods. A new nest usually does not exceed 1 m in diameter, and an old, completed, can reach up to 2.3 m and weigh centners. It takes about 8 days to build. Near the first nest, white storks can also build a second, which is used to sleep or guard the first nest. Sometimes young storks, not yet ready for breeding, do not want to build their own nest and try to capture someone else's. In this case, the old male menacingly bursts with his beak and throws himself at the opponent. Some couples occupy nests of birds of prey.

In the spring, the male flies to the nest first and invites a partner - any flying female. It happens that the former girlfriend returns to the male, and if her place is taken, then a fight occurs between the females. The winner remains, and her opponent has to fly. Many experts adhere to the version that storks are monogamous birds and fly to the nest with their regular partners, and do not form pairs upon arrival.

Photo by: rbg_2017, CC0

When the repair or construction of the nests is completed, courtship games begin. In different species of storks, this ritual is different.

In white storks, the male or female dance, nod with their beaks and take characteristic poses, throwing their heads back on their backs. The skin on the throat and chin swells, forming a throat sac, which acts as a resonator. Storks click their beaks, and the sound emanating from it resembles a kind of crackling. The male behaves more actively than the female. It can circle above the nest, rise high and fall sharply. If a female sits in a nest, he tries to lift it, braking its partner with its beak and stomping near it. When the female gets up, pairing occurs, during which the male falls to the partner, bending its legs and balancing its wings.

Black storks do not throw their heads back and do not click their beaks. They seem to bow to each other or walk with an elongated neck, bowed head and beak pressed to the neck. Periodically, they dig in their beaks in the feathers of the head or neck of a partner.

Photo by Gary L. Clark, CC BY-SA 4.0

The female lays 3-5 eggs, starting to incubate them even before the end of laying. Stork eggs are white, with a granular surface, elongated. They weigh about 120 g.

Photo by: Marcel Langthim (Pixel-mixer), CC0

Hatching lasts up to 30 days. Both parents hatch the chicks: usually the male does this during the day, and the female at night. Chicks are born blind, but begin to see after a few hours.

Newborn storks are covered with white down, their legs are pink and their beak is black. Secondary fluff appears after a week. In a white stork, after 16 days, the storks begin to stand on their feet. By the 25th day they are already firmly standing on both legs, and after 10 days they are able to stand on one leg. 70 days after birth, the young leaves the nest. Black stork chicks develop a little slower.

Photo by: Milan Kořínek

It is not easy to feed voracious storks. Both male and female participate in feeding. One of them is near the chicks, the other flies for food. In addition, the stork male constantly corrects the nest, bringing various building materials: branches, grass, twigs. Waiting for food, the kids click their beak. When parents bend over the chicks and throw food out of the throat, storks catch it on the fly or collect it at the bottom of the nest. Growing up, chicks tear food from their parents from the beak.

Father and mother gently care for their children. A bird, located in a nest with storks, on hot days protects them from the sun, standing above them with spread wings. Parents bring water in their beaks to water their babies or to give them a refreshing shower. But the sick, weakened, parasite-infected chicks are simply thrown out of the nest by storks.

Storks starting to fly are limited to the surroundings of their native nest. The whole family gathers in it for the night. Then the chicks fly further away, and finally, swarms begin to form. Storks fly away early: first young and then old. And although the young fly without escort, the instinct leads them in the right way. It was established that the time of departure is in no way connected either with a cooling, or with a nonsense. But the life cycle of these birds is arranged so that they arrive in the summer exactly for a certain period of time, which is required for breeding. Young storks begin nesting at 3-4 years of age. Sometimes this happens earlier, after 2 years, or later - up to 6 years.

Photo by: Milan Kořínek

What is the difference between a stork and a heron?

  • Storks belong to the order of ciconiiformes, the family of storks. Herons belong to the order Ciconiiformes, a family of herons.
  • Storks are birds of a more massive stock than herons.
  • Unlike storks, the neck of herons is incomparably thinner and longer.
  • In flight, storks keep their neck extended forward, which is uncharacteristic of herons.

On the left is a large blue heron, on the right is a white stork. The author of the photo on the left: Cephas, CC BY-SA 4.0, the author of the photo on the right: sipa, CC0.

  • The differences between a stork and a heron are in the length of the fingers. Storks are much shorter than herons.
  • Herons live and catch prey in swampy, flooded places where storks, due to the structure of their fingers, are problematic. Therefore, storks feed more on land.
  • Storks soar in the sky, while herons fly, flapping their wings and only occasionally planning.
  • In storks, the sternum has a square shape, in herons, the sternum is elongated.
  • Chicks of storks do not leave the nests for climbing trees. Little herons, on the contrary, are actively moving from branch to branch, using legs, beaks and ungrown wings.
  • Herons do not arrange nests on cliffs and rocks, unlike storks.

Gray heron on the left, black stork on the right. The author of the photo on the left: Barbara Walsh, CC BY 2.0, the author of the photo on the right: Johann Jaritz, CC BY-SA 3.0 at.

What is the difference between a crane and a stork?

  • Storks and cranes are representatives of different orders. The stork belongs to the order of ciconiiformes, the family of storks. The crane is a bird from the order of cranes, a family of cranes.
  • The beak of cranes is not as long as that of storks.
  • In the plumage of cranes there are softer, longer feathers. In storks, they are tougher and shorter.
  • Cranes make gurgling sounds and are quite loud. Most storks do not have a voice (except for the black stork), they are characterized only by the clicking of a beak.
  • Differences between birds are observed in their diet. Storks feed exclusively on small animals. Cranes, unlike storks, are mainly herbivorous: they eat berries and seeds of plants, shoots of various herbs and cereals. Cranes eat less animal food.
  • Cranes settle only in marshy areas. In addition to ponds, storks also choose open spaces, including in settlements.

On the left is an American crane, on the right is a white stork. The author of the photo on the left: Ryan Hagerty / USFWS, Public Domain, the author of the photo on the right: dassel, CC0.

  • Matrimonial games of storks and cranes vary.
  • Storks build their nests high above the ground: on trees, poles, roofs of buildings, rocks. Cranes never sit on trees, and nests are arranged on the ground. Cranes nests are smaller in size.
  • Cranes lay 1-2 eggs, storks 3-5 eggs.
  • Both parents incubate eggs for storks, only females for cranes, and the male performs a protective function.
  • Cranes create pairs for life, staying together even when flying in a flock. Storks can form new pairs each season.
  • When flying for the winter, cranes line up in a wedge, storks fly in a chaotic flock.
  • Cranes in flight evenly flap their wings, planning only when they sink to the ground. Storks mainly use soaring flight.
  • Some species of storks, in particular the white stork, are not afraid of humans and live next door to them. Cranes are afraid of people and prefer to stay away from them.

On the left is a gray crane, on the right is a white stork. The author of the photo on the left: Vyh Pichmann, CC BY-SA 3.0, the author of the photo on the right: susannp4, CC0.

All about storks

  • The family of storks has 12 subspecies.
  • Storks have a difficult communication system. Their communication occurs due to hissing and clicks emitted by the beak. In addition to such sounds, storks emit a thin, barely distinguishable squeak.
  • Storks are most comfortable sleeping on one leg. Moreover, the bird’s leg changes from time to time, while the stork does not wake up.
  • In nature, storks have no enemies. The only exceptions are eagles and crocodiles, which sometimes hunt these birds. Sometimes an enemy for a stork is a person.

Description and Features

In storks, a long snow-white neck contrasts with a red beak.

At the tips of the broad wings of a stork are black feathers. When the wings are folded, it may seem as if the entire back of the bird is black. The stork’s legs are red.

Male and female storks differ only in size.

The white stork has a height of more than a meter, and the wingspan is 1.5-2 meters. An adult weighs approximately 4 kg.

In flight, a stork soars above the ground, and how much this happens depends only on the bird. Perhaps this is due to the special joint of the bones of the shoulder girdle and the structure of the wing with elongation in the forearm.

  1. The white stork is the most numerous species of birds. Adult individuals of such storks are able to reach a height of 120 cm and a weight of approximately 4 kg. They have almost snow-white plumage, but their beak and legs are red. Such birds nest in Eurasia. They are widespread in Belarus.
  2. The Far Eastern stork, also called Chinese and black-billed, is classified as a rare species. These birds nest on the Korean Peninsula, in the Amur Region and Primorye, in the east and north of China, as well as in Mongolia. They like the wetlands.
  3. The black stork is an understudied but numerous species. Such a stork lives in Africa. In Eurasia, this bird is quite widespread. This winter, storks of this type travel to southern Asia from unfavorable zones. Representatives of this species are slightly smaller than their relatives and they reach a weight of about 3 kg.
  4. The White-bellied Stork is a small-sized species. Such birds have a weight of about a kilogram. They live mainly settled in Africa.
  5. The white-necked stork can be found in different parts of Asia and Africa, especially in the rainforests. The growth of such birds is usually not more than 90 cm. The plumage of them is mostly black with shades of red, and the wings have a greenish tint.
  6. The American stork lives in southern America. Such birds are not very large. In their appearance, they can resemble a white stork, but differ from it only in the shape of the thymus black tail.

Lifestyle & Habitat

The habitat of storks is meadow lowlands and marshy areas. Storks practically do not unite in large flocks, because they live alone or in small groups.

During a long flight, the stork is even able to fall asleep in the air. At the same time, the pulse and breathing of a feathered bird becomes rare, and hearing in such a state only acquires great sensitivity. This helps the bird not to get lost and not to fend off relatives.

A quarter of an hour is enough for birds to rest in flight, after which they wake up, and their body comes in tone.

Communicating with each other, storks do not show sentiment, and therefore sick and weakened relatives, this type of bird can mercilessly beat to death.


Finding out what storks eat in nature, it is worth saying that they give special preference to frogs.

They also like fish. There are shellfish in their varied diets. Storks also like to feast on large insects. On land, they catch snakes, lizards, and sometimes poisonous snakes.

Storks are considered a threat to small mammals such as moles, ground squirrels, mice, and rats.


  1. Storks do not build new nests, but only equip old ones. These birds have a strong attachment to their own housing. There is a fact that the oldest stork nest was built about four centuries ago, and several generations lived in it.
  2. Storks can build truly large nests with a diameter of up to 1.5 meters and weighing up to 2 centners. Sometimes starlings or sparrows live with storks there.

Reproduction and longevity

Storks are monogamous feathered creatures. Family unions of these birds are not destroyed throughout their lives.

The mating ritual for each species of storks is different. White storks in the spouse select the first female stork that has come flying to the nest. From this moment, the reproduction of storks begins. After that, the new mistress lays up to seven eggs. Then the incubation lasts about a month, and up to 2 months - the growth of the cubs. After 55 days from the period of birth, the first flight of young animals occurs. A new generation grows up by the fall, and then the family of storks breaks up.

It is worth noting that the life expectancy of storks in natural conditions reaches 20 years. How many storks live in captivity is also known. The indicated period is greatly increased, but only with proper care and maintenance.

Why does a stork bring children?

When a small child asks a question about the origin of the children, the easiest way to answer is that the stork brings them. Naturally, every adult knows that this is not so. However, this innocent myth is known throughout the world. So where did he come from? If you want to know the answer to this question, you need to go back several centuries.

In ancient times, Slavic tribes allowed themselves a lot during the celebration of summer night (June 21 - the holiday of the summer solstice, as well as the pagan holiday of marriage and childbirth). Various rituals were organized with alcoholic drinks and orgies. And nine months after such orgies, some women had children. In many cases, finding a father was simply impossible. And then a natural question arose: “where is this child from?” In addition, many marriages were made at this time. The period of the birth of children, in both the first and second cases, coincided with the arrival of spring and the return of storks. And so the expression "the stork brought the baby."

Interesting facts about storks.

• This bird has a special status in Belarus. Many consider the stork an unofficial symbol of the country. According to existing legend, in the past the stork was a man. Once, God gave him a bag of snakes, which he had to throw away. The man did not know what was inside the bag, and despite the strict ban, he decided to check its contents. Snakes, so to speak, seized the opportunity and sprawled in different directions. God decided to punish man by turning him into a stork.

• Belarusians are sure that storks nest only on the roofs of houses of good people.

• In 2013, Egyptian police arrested (!) A stork on suspicion of espionage. A certain device was noticed on the bird, which, according to the intelligence services, could be a camera or even an explosive device. However, after a more detailed analysis, it turned out that it was just a transmitter for tracking bird migration.

• The largest individuals reach a height of 160 centimeters, and their wingspan is more than 2 meters.

• Storks have a very specific way of thermoregulating their bodies. They control temperature by defecating on their own legs. Wet feces stick to the legs and evaporate. Through this process, they cool their body.

• In Poland, there is the so-called European village of storks. It is located in the Podlasie region in the town of Pentovo. It is estimated that about forty pairs of storks nest there annually. Nests are everywhere - on poles, trees, roofs. They even install special racks.

• Also in Poland, on the initiative of the Society of Friends of Nature, the White Stork Day has been celebrated since 2003. He arrives on May 31 and aims to popularize knowledge of these birds.

• Usually storks build nests at a height of 10 - 20 meters above the ground. Their diameter can be from 90 centimeters to 2 meters.

• The average life expectancy of these large birds is 8 to 10 years. However, there were cases when some individuals reached the age of 20 and even 30 years of age.

• The height of an adult stork varies from 50 to 160 centimeters. A characteristic feature of this bird are its long legs, beak and neck. In most cases, the predominant color of plumage is white and black. Storks have short tails. During the flight, their legs, neck and head are elongated in a line. Their weight varies from 1.3 to 9 kilograms.

• Together with worsening weather conditions and shorter daylight hours, storks fly to warm countries. These birds spend the winter on the African continent. It takes them more than one month to cover a distance of several thousand kilometers. Every day, storks are able to overcome about 200 kilometers.