© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M., W. & F. von Wright: Pohjolan linnut värikuvin . Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.
- Name also: European White Stork
- Family: Storks – Ciconiidae
- Appearance: A large stork. Plumage mainly white with black wing feathers and a large, red, wedge-shaped bill.
- Size: Length 95–110 cm, wingspan 183–217 cm, weight 2.3–4.4 kg.
- Nest: Often nests in human settlements on roofs, old chimneys, church towers, telephone poles etc. Large nest made of sticks may be used for many years.
- Breeding: 1–7 eggs (average 4) laid in April–May, incubated by both parents for 33–34 days. Young able to fly within 58–64 days.
- Distribution: Likes to live in open farmland, in riverside marshes and wetlands. Does not breed in Finland (the first breeding in Finland in 2015) but regularly seen during migration seasons, especially in spring.
- Migration: Flies south to tropical Africa August–September, returning in late April or May. May be seen in large numbers in bottlenecks along migration routes (e.g. the Bosphorus, Gibraltar), where the largest flocks may contain as many as 10,000 birds.
- Diet: Insects, frogs, snakes, young birds and small mammals.
- Calls: Usually silent, but may communicate with mate by audibly clapping their bills.
White Storks are very large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Their plumage is almost entirely white except for their black primary and secondary wing feathers (Black Storks have much less white colouring and can be recognised by their black heads, necks and wing coverts). White Storks have red legs, brown irises and long, bright red dagger-shaped bills. Younger birds’ legs and bills may appear more reddish brown. White Storks walk on the ground slowly and proudly. In flight they hold their necks out straight ahead.
The first breeding in Finland occured in 2015. South from Finland, in Estonia the amount of breeding white storks ia estimated at 5,000. The oldest recovered ringed bird (a male) was more than 33 years old and raised three young at the age of 32.