In The Wild
The black stork (Ciconia nigra) is a very large wading bird, standing nearly 1 metre (3.3 ft.) tall. Its feathers are a glossy black with a sheen of green, bronze and purple, and it has white underparts. It has a long, sharply-pointed beak.
Like many members of the stork family, the black stork is primarily a bird of wooded wetlands and water margins. However, within its large range – from Germany and the Balkans eastwards in a broad band right across Asia – it is found in arid and treeless areas. Curiously, there are also two small isolated populations: one is on the Spain-Portugal border and the other in southern Africa.
When hunting, the black stork walks slowly through marshy clearings or along stream edges, neck extended, head down, and ready to strike with its long straight bill. Its diet includes fish, such as perch and roach, as well as frogs and aquatic invertebrates.
The breeding season for these long-legged birds starts in May. Once the stork has found a mate they stay together for life. The breeding pair build a stick nest together high in the trees and the female will lay between two to five eggs in it. The eggs are incubated for approximately five weeks by both parents, once hatched the storks share the feeding of the chicks until they leave the next at around 3 months old.