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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

15 Amaze-wing Facts About The White Stork For Kids

Surprise yourself with these white stork facts

White storks are beautiful, large white birds. Primarily carnivorous, these birds are usually found near freshwater sources, be it ponds, rivers, or pools. These birds travel long distances when they migrate.

This large bird has two subspecies under it; the Ciconia ciconia ciconia, which breeds mainly in Europe, Africa, and Asia predominantly, as well as Ciconia ciconia asiatica, which are slightly larger than the previous subspecies, and breed in Turkestan and spend cold winters in regions between Iran to India.

This bird is a follower of monogamous relationships, but they do not promise of staying together forever, and might hop on to another partner too!

Impressed with these facts on the white stork? We are confident that you would have just as much fun reading our fact pages regarding the Marabou stork and wood stork.

White Stork Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a white stork?

The white stork is a bird.

What class of animal does a white stork belong to?

White storks are classified under the class of Aves, belonging to the family Ciconiidae.

How many white storks are there in the world?

There are about 500,000 and 520,000 individuals of white storks currently living on earth.

Where does a white stork live?

The white stork bird lives in wetlands, meadows, and building tops.

What is a white stork's habitat?

White storks do not like wandering much away from their homes, and prefer having resources available close to them. Hence, they prefer spots that are close to shallow water bodies. Food is of major importance, however, they do not stay in densely vegetated areas. This helps them stay protected from other predators. They are mainly found on wetlands, meadows, and farmlands.

Who do white storks live with?

This animal usually prefers to live in groups as they are social creatures and mate monogamously.

How long does a white stork live?

White storks can live for more than 30 years and have considerably longer lifespans in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

White stork nests are about 2.5-5 ft (0.76-1.5 m) in diameter and are about 3.5-6.5 ft (1-2 m) deep. Usually, these nests are built in tall trees or on top of skyscrapers. Usually, the male stork decides the habitat where the nest will be made, and the female joins him there for breeding. Storks return to the same nests every breeding season unless the stork pairs have been changed. These breeding birds raise one batch of hatchlings every year. Usually, 1-7 eggs are laid, with an average of four eggs. The eggs do not hatch at the same time, and all begin breaking their shells after about a month. Rarely, though, the weakest of all chicks are killed by the parent birds. Young white storks flee about two months after hatching. They begin breeding at around the age of four years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the white stork is stated as Least Concern.

White Stork Fun Facts

What do white storks look like?

These storks flaunt long, red stiff legs which are usually red in color. They are also known to have long necks. The most striking feature of white storks is their pointy, long red bill. Usually, male storks are larger in size as compared to their female fellows. The feathery coats adorned by these birds are mainly of a white hue, complemented with black feathers of flight. This black tint appears due to the presence of melanin.  The feathers on their breasts are ruff, shaggy and long. They have big eyes with either grey or brown irises, and the skin around their eyes is black in color.

The hatched younger white storks have short, white feathers. Their beaks are of blackish hue with brown tips. They also have pink legs. In a few weeks' time, this little one acquires the flight feathers. The legs begin to slowly become grey-black in color. As a juvenile, you will notice the beaks and legs sporting dull crimson or orange shades. The bills of juvenile white storks are usually orangish-red, and the tip has a darker shade.

The white storks build very large nests for their eggs.

How cute are they?

Some do not find this bird species cute, although some people might find them cute.

How do they communicate?

The main calls of this stork include loud bill-clattering. The storks continuously open and close their bills, which makes a knocking effect every time the stork closes its mouth. The throat pouch plays the role of a resonator, amplifying this sound. These beak-clattering effects are slow during mating, but short and loud when made as an alert call. They also hiss to call out to the other birds.

Sometimes, storks repeatedly nod their heads up and down, with their head extending completely back and touching the body, and slowly bringing it down. This gesture is usually a way of greeting other birds, but be careful, because they are also trying to threaten you with this act.

How big is a white stork?

These birds are large in size. Their bodies have lengths in the range of 39-45 in (99-114 cm). They stand proud and upright and have a height of 39-50 in (99-125 cm). They possess large wingspan, having a width of 60-85 in (152-216 cm).

Their height and length is equal to four times the average height of a raccoon.

How fast can a white stork fly?

Under good weather conditions, these storks can fly at about 500 km per day!

How much does a white stork weigh?

These big birds weigh about 5-10 lb (2.27-4.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Generally, there are no specific names for the male and female birds of the stork family.

What would you call a baby white stork?

A baby white stork is called a hatchling or a chick.

What do they eat?

The individuals of this species mainly feed on meat. Most of its meals contain constituents that are either plucked from the ground, shallow waters, or small vegetation. Fish is the main ingredient of a stork’s diet. Other animals such as insects, small invertebrates and amphibians, reptiles, small birds, and small mammals all fall prey to this majestic white bird. Apart from animals, insects such as beetles, crickets, locusts, worms, grasshoppers, frogs, moles, and a lot more are eaten by them. Even mollusks, bird eggs, scorpions, crustaceans are gobbled by these creatures.

They prefer finding habitats where the availability of food is easy, and usually do not fly more than 3 m (5 km) away from their large stick nests for their meals. Usually, small prey is easily eaten whole, but they kill and tear down larger prey before feasting on them.

Younger storks feed on insects and earthworms, which are first eaten by the parents and regurgitated by adult storks.

Non-breeding male and female birds of this species tend to arrange food from dry grounds.

Are they dangerous?

If threatened, these birds will not think twice to attack animals with their long, pointy bills.

Would they make a good pet?

We really do not think these animals would make good pets as they are wild animals.

Did you know...

This striking red color of their bills and legs is derived from the presence of carotenoids in the stork diet.

One famous Polish folktale speaks on the story of how this stork species was created. It is said that the body of the stork was made white by God, however, the Devil gave this bird black wings, thus showing that good and bad coexist in one creature.

Studies have found out that the European white stork has can become hosts to about 11 different parasitic worm species.

This ave is the national bird of many countries, including Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania.

Where do white storks come from?

White stork migration takes place as their habitat's season begins to change. In summers, the white storks are spread across Europe, western Asia, North Africa as well as the Iberian Peninsula.

From their European breeding grounds in summer, these storks head towards Africa for wintering, their wintering grounds expanding from Sub Saharan Africa to the Indian subcontinent. As the spring season comes, these birds shift towards the northern region of Africa. By the months of March and April, their migration routes are back towards Europe for the summer breeding season.

They adopt the eastern migration path, which crosses Turkey, the Sahara desert, and the Nile valley towards the south. Sometimes, they might also go through western migration routes which take them over the Strait of Gibraltar. In all these places, they choose shallow-water habitats where they can easily feed on insects, fish, and other small mammals.

What does a white stork symbolize?

In Roman and Greek mythology, storks are a model for devotion to parents. It is said that old storks flew to faraway islands, and as a reward for their goodness and devotion to parents, were transformed into human beings.

In early Rome, the arrival of European white storks during the season of spring informed the farmers about the right time to plant their beautiful vines.

Germans believe that having a stork nest over your house would protect the home from fires and that they contained the souls of humans. Thus, Dutch, Germans, and Polish people would build high-rise houses to encourage these birds to build their nests on their roofs, which was thought to bring in good luck.

Central and Eastern European households also believed that storks brought good fortune and harmony to those people, who owned the houses over which the stork nests were built.

Popular European folklore speaks about storks bringing babies to the houses of new parents. This legend was further popularised in the story of Hans Christian Andersen.

German legends speak about storks finding babies in marshes or caves, and they would carry these infants on their backs, or with their beaks, and drop them down the chimneys or handed over to new parents. If any couple was looking forward to extending their family, they would place sweets over their window sills.

Learn more about some other birds from our American flamingo amazing facts, or the Andean flamingo interesting facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable white stork coloring pages.

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