The black stork (Ciconia nigra) is a large bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae. Measuring on average 95 to 100 cm (37 to 39 in) from beak tip to end of tail with a 145-to-155 cm (57-to-61 in) wingspan, the adult black stork has mainly black plumage, with white underparts, long red legs and a long pointed red beak. A widespread, but uncommon, species, it breeds in scattered locations across Europe (predominantly in Spain, and central and eastern parts), and Asia to the Pacific Ocean. It is a long-distance migrant, with European populations wintering in tropical Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asian populations in the Indian subcontinent. When migrating between Europe and Africa, it avoids crossing the Mediterranean Sea and detours via the Levant in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west. An isolated, non-migratory, population occurs in Southern Africa.
Unlike the closely related white stork, the black stork is a shy and wary species. It is seen singly or in pairs, usually in marshy areas, rivers or inland waters. It feeds on amphibians, small fish and insects, generally wading slowly in shallow water stalking its prey. Breeding pairs usually build nests in large forest trees—most commonly deciduous but also coniferous—which can be seen from long distances, as well as on large boulders, or under overhanging ledges in mountainous areas. The female lays two to five greyish-white eggs, which become soiled over time in the nest. Incubation takes 32 to 38 days, with both sexes sharing duties, and fledging takes 60 to 71 days.
The black stork is considered to be a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but its actual status is uncertain. Despite its large range, it is nowhere abundant, and it appears to be declining in parts of its range, such as in India, China and parts of Western Europe, though increasing in others such as the Iberian Peninsula. Various conservation measures have been taken for the black stork, like the Conservation Action Plan for African black storks by Wetlands International. It is also covered under the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
|In Kruger National Park, South Africa|
|Range of C. nigra Breeding range Year-round range Wintering range|
Ardea nigra Linnaeus, 1758
English naturalist Francis Willughby wrote about the black stork in the 17th century, having seen one in Frankfurt. He named it Ciconia nigra,[a] from the Latin words for "stork" and "black" respectively. It was one of the many species originally described by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in the landmark 1758 10th edition of his Systema Naturae, where it was given the binomial name of Ardea nigra. It was moved to the new genus Ciconia by French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson two years later. The word stork is derived from the Old English word storc, thought to be related to the Old High German storah, meaning "stork", and the Old English stearc, meaning "stiff".
The black stork is a member of the genus Ciconia, or typical storks, a group of seven extant species, characterised by straight bills and mainly black and white plumage. The black stork was long thought to be most closely related to the white stork (C. ciconia). However, genetic analysis via DNA–DNA hybridization and mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA by Beth Slikas in 1997 found that it was basal (an early offshoot) in the genus Ciconia. Fossil remains have been recovered from Miocene beds on Rusinga and Maboko Islands in Kenya, which are indistinguishable from the white and black storks.
The black stork is a large bird, measuring between 95 and 100 cm (37 and 39 in) in length with a 145-to-155 cm (57-to-61 in) wingspan, and weighing around 3 kg (6.6 lb). Standing as tall as 102 cm (40 in), it has long red legs, a long neck and a long, straight, pointed red beak. It bears some resemblance to Abdim's stork (C. abdimii), which can be distinguished by its much smaller build, predominantly green bill, legs and feet, and white rump and lower back. The plumage is black with a purplish green sheen, except for the white lower breast, belly, armpits, axillaries and undertail coverts. The breast feathers are long and shaggy, forming a ruff which is used in some courtship displays. The black stork has brown irises, and bare red skin around its eyes. The sexes are identical in appearance, except that males are larger than females on average. Moulting takes place in spring, with the iridescent sheen brighter in new plumage. It walks slowly and steadily on the ground and like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched.
The juvenile resembles the adult in plumage, but the areas corresponding to the adult black feathers are browner and less glossy. The scapulars, wing and upper tail coverts have pale tips. The legs, bill and bare skin around the eyes are greyish green. It could possibly be confused with the juvenile yellow-billed stork, but the latter has paler wings and mantle, a longer bill and white under the wings.
During the summer, the black stork is found from Eastern Asia (Siberia and northern China) west to Central Europe, reaching Estonia in the north, Poland, Lower Saxony and Bavaria in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy and Greece in the south, with an outlying population in the central-southwest region of the Iberian Peninsula (Extremadura and surrounding provinces of Spain, plus Portugal). It is migratory, wintering in tropical Africa and Asia, although certain populations of black storks are sedentary or dispersive. An isolated population exists in Southern Africa, where the species is more numerous in the east, in eastern South Africa and Mozambique, and is also found in Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Botswana and less commonly Namibia.
Most of the black storks that summer in Europe migrate to Africa, with those from western Germany and points west heading south via the Iberian Peninsula and the rest via Turkey and the Levant. Those flying via Spain spend winter in the Falémé River basin of eastern Senegal, Guinea, southern Mauritania, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and western and central Mali, while those flying via the Sinai end up in northern Ethiopia, the Kotto River basin in the Central African Republic, the Mbokou river basin in Chad and northeastern Nigeria. Black storks summering in western Asia migrate to northern and northeastern India, ranging mainly from Punjab south to Karnataka, and Africa. They are occasional visitors to Sri Lanka. Those summering further east in eastern Russia and China winter mainly in southern China, and occasionally in Hong Kong, Myanmar, northern Thailand, and Laos. They were first recorded in western Myanmar in 1998.
The black stork prefers more wooded areas than the better-known white stork, and breeds in large marshy wetlands with interspersed coniferous or broadleaved woodlands, but also inhabits hills and mountains with sufficient networks of creeks. It usually inhabits ponds, rivers, edges of lakes, estuaries and other freshwater wetlands. The black stork does inhabit more agricultural areas in the Caspian lowlands, but even here it avoids close contact with people. Its wintering habitat in India comprises reservoirs or rivers with nearby scrub or forest, which provide trees that black storks can roost in at night. In southern Africa it is found in shallow water in rivers or lakes, or swamps, but is occasionally encountered on dry land.
After disappearing from Belgium before the onset of the 20th century, it has returned to breed in the Belgian Ardennes, Luxembourg and Burgundy, France, by 2000. It appears to be increasing in numbers in Spain and Portugal, where the population was estimated at 405 to 483 pairs in 2006. The black stork is a rare vagrant to the British Isles, turning up in the warmer months—particularly in spring—generally in the south and east. Sightings have become more common since the 1970s as its breeding range moves northwards. It has been recorded in Scotland six times between 1946 and 1983, including from Shetland, Orkney and the Highlands, as well as the Scottish Borders (Peebles). It is not abundant in the western parts of its distribution, but more densely inhabits eastern Transcaucasia. Further east, it has been recorded from locations across Iran, though little is known about its habits there; breeding has been recorded from near Aliabad in Fars province, Khabr National Park in Kerman province, Karun river in Khuzestan province, Qaranqu River in East Azarbaijan province, and Aliabad river in Razavi Khorasan province. The population has declined in Iran due to draining of wetlands. East of the Ural Mountains, the black stork is patchily found in forested and mountainous areas up to 60°‒63° N across Siberia to the Pacific Ocean. South of Siberia, it breeds in Xinjiang, northwestern China, northern Mongolia south to the Altai Mountains, and northeastern China south to the vicinity of Beijing. In the Korean Peninsula, the black stork is an uncommon summer visitor, no longer breeding in the south since 1966. Birds have been seen in the northeast but it is not known whether they breed there. Similarly it has been seen in the summer in Afghanistan, but its breeding status is uncertain.
Migration takes place from early August to October, with a major exodus in September. Some of the Iberian populations, and also those in southern Africa, are essentially non-migratory, though they may wander freely in the non-breeding areas. A broad-winged soaring bird, the black stork is assisted by thermals of hot air for long-distance flight, although is less dependent on them than is the white stork. Since thermals only form over land, the black stork, together with large raptors, must cross the Mediterranean at the narrowest points, and many black storks travel south through the Bosphorus, as well as the Sinai and Gibraltar. The trip is around 5,667 km (3,521 mi) via the western route and 7,000 km (4,300 mi) via the eastern route, with satellite tracking yielding an average travel time of 37 and 80 days respectively. The western route goes over the Rock of Gibraltar or over the Bay of Gibraltar, generally on a southwesterly track that takes them to the central part of the strait, from where they reach Morocco. Many birds fly around the Sahara next to the coast. About 10% of the western storks choose the passage Sicily – Cap Bon, Tunisia.
Spain contains several important areas—Monfragüe National Park, Sierra de Gredos Regional Park, National Hunting Reserve in Cíjara, Natural Park of the Sierra Hornachuelos and Doñana National Park—where black storks stop over on the western migration route. Pesticide use has threatened birdlife in nearby Doñana. Further south, Lake Faguibine in Mali is another stopover point but it has been affected by drought in recent years.
The black stork has a wider range of calls than the white stork, its main call being a chee leee, which sounds like a loud inhalation. It makes a hissing call as a warning or threat. Displaying males produce a long series of wheezy raptor-like squealing calls rising in volume and then falling. It rarely indulges in mutual bill-clattering when adults meet at the nest. Adults will do so as part of their mating ritual or when angered. The young clatter their bills when aroused.
The up-down display is used for a number of interactions with other members of the species. Here a stork positions its body horizontally and quickly bobs its head up from down-facing to around 30 degrees above horizontal and back again, while displaying the white segments of its plumage prominently, and this is repeated several times. The display is used as a greeting between birds, and—more vigorously—as a threat display. The species' solitary nature means that this threat display is rarely witnessed.
The black stork breeds between April and May in the Northern Hemisphere, with eggs usually laid in late April. In southern Africa, breeding takes place in the months between September and March, possibly to take advantage of abundant water prey rendered easier to catch as the rivers dry up and recede—from April and May in Zimbabwe, Botswana and northern South Africa, and as late as July further south.
The nest is large, constructed from sticks and twigs, and sometimes also large branches, at an elevation of 4–25 m (13–82 ft). The black stork prefers to construct its nest in forest trees with large canopies where the nest can be built far from the main trunk—generally in places far from human disturbance. For the most part, deciduous trees are chosen for nesting sites, though conifers are used as well. A 2003 field study in Estonia found that the black stork preferred oak (Quercus robur), European aspen (Populus tremula), and to a lesser extent Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), and ignored Norway spruce (Picea abies), in part due to the canopy structure of the trees. Trees with nests averaged around 25.6 ± 5.2 metres (84 ± 17 ft) high and had a diameter at breast height of 66 ± 20 centimetres (26.0 ± 7.9 in). Furthermore, 90% of the trees chosen were at least 80 years old, highlighting the importance of conserving old-growth forests. A 2004 field study of nesting sites in Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli National Park in north-eastern Greece found that it preferred the Calabrian pine (Pinus brutia), which had large side branches that allowed it to build the nest away from the trunk, as well as black pine (Pinus nigra) and to a lesser extent Turkey oak (Quercus cerris). It chose the largest trees in an area, generally on steeper ground and near streams. Trees chosen were on average over 90 years old. In the Iberian peninsula it nests in pine and cork oak (Quercus suber).
In steeply mountainous areas such as parts of Spain, South Africa and the Carpathian Mountains it nests on cliffs, on large boulders, in caves and under overhanging ledges. The black stork's solitary nests are usually at least 1 km (0.6 mi) apart, even where the species is numerous. Although newly constructed nests may be significantly smaller, older nests can be 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) in diameter. In southern Africa, the black stork may occupy the nests of other bird species such as hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) or Verreaux's eagle (Aquila verreauxi) and commonly reuses them in successive years. They are repaired with earth and grass, and lined with leaves, moss, grass, animal fur, paper, clay and rags.
In a clutch, there are two to five, or rarely even six large oval grey-white eggs, which become soiled during incubation. They can be 64–70 mm (2.5–2.8 in) long and 50–53 mm (2.0–2.1 in) wide, averaging about 68 mm (2.7 in) in length and 52 mm (2.0 in) in width. The eggs are laid with an interval of two days. Hatching is asynchronous, and takes place at the end of May. Incubation takes 32 to 38 days, with both sexes sharing duties, which commence after the first or second egg is laid. The young start flying by the end of July. Fledging takes 60 to 71 days, after which the young joins the adults at their feeding grounds. However, for another 2 weeks, the young continue to return to the nest, to be fed and to roost at night.
At least one adult remains in the nest for two to three weeks after hatching to protect the young. Both parents feed the young by regurgitating onto the floor of the nest. Black stork parents have been known to kill one of their fledglings, generally the weakest, in times of food shortage to reduce brood size and hence increase the chance of survival of the remaining nestlings. Stork nestlings do not attack each other, and their parents' method of feeding them (disgorging large amounts of food at once) means that stronger siblings cannot outcompete weaker ones for food directly, hence parental infanticide is an efficient way of reducing brood size. This behaviour has only rarely been observed in the species, although the shyness of the species and difficulties in studying its nesting habits mean that it might not be an uncommon phenomenon.
The black stork mainly eats fish, including small cyprinids, pikes, roaches, eels, budds, perches, burbots, sticklebacks and muddy loaches (Misgurnus and Cobitis). It may feed on amphibians, small reptiles, crabs, mammals and birds, and invertebrates such as snails, molluscs, earthworms, and insects like water beetles and their larvae.
Foraging for food takes place mostly in fresh water, though the black stork may look for food on dry land at times. The black stork wades patiently and slowly in shallow water, often alone or in a small group if food is plentiful. It has been observed shading the water with its wings while hunting. In India, it often forages in mixed species flocks with the white stork, woolly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus), demoiselle crane (Grus virgo) and bar-headed goose (Anser indicus). The black stork also follows large mammals such as deer and livestock, presumably to eat the invertebrates and small animals flushed by their presence.
The black stork hosts more than 12 species of helminth, with Cathaemasia hians and Dicheilonema ciconiae reported to be the most dominant. The juvenile black stork, although having a less diverse helminth population, is parasitized more frequently than the adult. A new species of Corynebacterium—C. ciconiae—has been isolated from the trachea of healthy black storks, and is thought to be part of the natural flora of the species. A diverse array of predatory mesostigmatid mites—particularly the genera Dendrolaelaps and Macrocheles—have been recovered from black stork nests. Their role is unknown, though they could prey on parasitic arthropods.
Since 1998, the black stork has been rated as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. This is because it has a large range—more than 20,000 km2 (7,700 mi2)—and because its population is thought not to have declined by 30% over ten years or three generations and thus is not a rapid enough decline to warrant a vulnerable rating. Even so, the state of the population overall is unclear, and although it is widespread, it is not abundant anywhere. Black stork numbers have declined for many years in western Europe, and the species has already been extirpated from Scandinavia. The population in India—a major wintering ground—is declining. Previously a regular winter visitor to the Mai Po Marshes, it is now seldom seen there, and appears to be in decline in China overall. Its habitat is changing rapidly in much of eastern Europe and Asia. Various conservation measures have been taken, including Wetlands International's Conservation Action Plan for African black storks, which focuses on improving the wintering conditions of the birds which breed in Europe. It is protected by the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Hunters threaten the black stork in some countries of southern Europe and Asia, such as Pakistan, and breeding populations may have been eliminated there. The black stork vanished from the Ticino River valley in northern Italy, with hunting a likely contributor. In 2005, black storks were released into the Parco Lombardo del Ticino in an attempt to re-establish the species there.
The Abdim's stork (Ciconia abdimii), also known as white-bellied stork, is a black stork with grey legs, red knees and feet, grey bill and white underparts. It has red facial skin in front of the eye and blue skin near the bill in breeding season. It is the smallest species of stork, at 73 cm (29 in) and a weight of just over 1 kg (2.2 lbs). The female lays two to three eggs and is slightly smaller than the male.
The Abdim's stork is found in open habitats throughout Eastern Africa, from Ethiopia south to South Africa. Its diet consists mainly of locusts, caterpillars and other large insects, although the birds will also eat small reptiles, amphibians, mice, crabs and eggs. The Abdim's stork has escaped or been deliberately released in to Florida, USA, but there is no evidence that the population is breeding and may only persist due to continuing releases or escapes.
Among the smallest storks, this species is welcomed and protected by local Africans who believe that it is a harbinger of rain and good luck. The name commemorates the Turkish Governor of Wadi Halfa in Sudan, Bey El-Arnaut Abdim (1780–1827).Widespread and common throughout its large range, the Abdim's stork is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is the subject of several nationally coordinated breeding programs: in the United States, the plan for this species is administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and in Europe by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.Avaste Nature Reserve
Avaste Nature Reserve is a nature reserve situated in western Estonia, to largest extent in Pärnu County.
Avaste nature reserve consists of forests, fens, bogs and meadows. It is centred on Avaste fen, one of the largest fens in Estonia. The flora of the nature reserve includes sweet gale, mud sedge and several species of orchid. Several species of rare or threatened birds furthermore have a habitat in the nature reserve. These include black stork, white-backed woodpecker, northern goshawk, short-eared owl, three species of eagle and others.A 2.6 km (1.6 mi) long hiking trail runs adjacent to the nature reserve.Black Stork in a Landscape
Black Stork in a Landscape is an 18th-century watercolor painting of a woolly-necked stork. The painting, which is currently in the collection the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was commissioned by Claude Martin as part of a series of 658 ornithological paintings.Ciconia
Ciconia is a genus of birds in the stork family. The genus name is the Latin word for "stork", and was originally recorded in the works of Horace and Ovid.Six of the seven living species occur in the Old World, but the maguari stork has a South American range. In addition, fossils suggest that Ciconia storks were somewhat more common in the tropical Americas in prehistoric times.
These are large storks, typically 100 cm tall, with a 180 cm wingspan and a long thick bill. Members of this genus are more variable in plumage than other storks, but several species have black upper bodies and wings, and white belly and undertail. Juveniles are a duller, browner version of the adult.
Ciconia storks are gregarious and colonial breeders, and pairs stay together for life. They typically build large stick nests in trees, although the maguari stork will nest on the ground and at least three species will construct their nests on human habitations. One of these, the white stork, is probably the best known of all storks, with a wealth of legend and folklore associated with this familiar visitor to Europe.
These storks feed on frogs, insects, young birds, lizards and rodents. They fly with the neck outstretched, like most other storks, but unlike herons which retract their neck in flight.
The migratory species like the white stork and the black stork soar on broad wings and rely on thermals of hot air for sustained long distance flight. Since thermals only form over land, these storks, like large raptors, must cross the Mediterranean at the narrowest points, and many of these birds can be seen going through the Straits of Gibraltar and the Bosphorus on migration.Danube-Drava National Park
Danube-Drava National Park was founded in 1996 and is located in the south west of Hungary. The current area is 490 square kilometres and the majority of the national park sites are located within the Danube and Drava floodland areas, of which 190 km² are Ramsar wetlands. Black stork and White-tailed eagle populations are of European significance. Seven invertebrate species are found only here in Hungary. Habitats along the Drava host more than 400 protected plants and animals. Species endemic to national park areas include the black hawthorn and the Drava caddis fly.Harry J. Haiselden
Harry John Haiselden (March 16, 1870 – June 18, 1919) was the Chief Surgeon at the German-American Hospital in Chicago in 1915 who refused to perform needed surgery for children born with severe birth defects and allowed the babies to die, in an act of eugenics.Harz National Park
Harz National Park is a nature reserve in the German federal states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. It comprises portions of the western Harz mountain range, extending from Herzberg and Bad Lauterberg at the southern edge to Bad Harzburg and Ilsenburg on the northern slopes. 95 % of the area is covered with forests, mainly with spruce and beech woods, including several bogs, granite rocks and creeks. The park is part of the Natura 2000 network of the European Union.
In its current form, the park was created on January 1, 2006 by the merger of the Harz National Park in Lower Saxony, established in 1994, and the Upper Harz National Park in Saxony-Anhalt, established in 1990. As the former inner German border ran through the Harz, large parts of the range were prohibited areas, that apart from the fortifications had remained completely unaffected for decades. Today the park covers parts of the districts of Goslar, Göttingen and Harz.
Rare animals of the Harz National Park include the dipper, the black stork, peregrine falcon, the European wildcat and especially the Eurasian lynx. The last lynx in the Harz Mountains had been shot in 1818, but in 1999 a project for reintroducing was established. Since 2002 several wild lynxes gave birth. An attempt to return the capercaillie (Auerhuhn) however did not succeed.Jovsi
Jovsi is an extensive natural plain divided into wetlands and covering an area of 4.6 square kilometers (1.8 sq mi) in the Municipality of Brežice in Slovenia. It lies west of the lower course of the Sotla River below the Kapele Hills (Slovene: Kapelske gorice). It is bounded by the road from Župelevec to Dobova to the west and the Sotla River to the east.
The name Jovsi is derived from German Jauchsee 'fetid lake'. Until the Sotla River was regulated, the area was regularly inundated by floodwaters from the river.Jovsi is a flood-zone wetland of exceptional natural interest, distinguished by its great diversity of flora and fauna. About 80 species of birds nest here, which has provided ornithologists with the opportunity to collect extensive data. Certain important European species are regularly or intermittently found in Jovsi: the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), European roller (Coracias garrulus), black stork (Ciconia nigra), white stork (Ciconia ciconia), common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), corn crake (Crex crex), and lesser grey shrike (Lanius minor).Because of its importance for nature conservation, the area is protected as a nature park.Karula National Park
Karula National Park is national park in southern Estonia. It was established in 1979 as a protected area and in 1993 became a national park. It is the smallest national park in Estonia.
Karula National Park is characterised by its hilly topography, its many lakes, the great biodiversity and traditional cultural landscape. The flora of the national park is rich, and includes several species red-listed in Estonia such as the Baltic orchid, mezereon and the daisyleaf grape fern; the latter is only found in three locations in Estonia and Karula is one of them. The fauna also incorporates unusual and threatened species, such as the pond bat, the lesser spotted eagle and the black stork. Mammals like elk, lynx and polecat are common.Ntangki National Park
Intangki National Park is a wildlife park located in Peren district of Nagaland, India. Among the creatures that inhabit the park are the rare hoolock gibbon, golden langur, hornbill, palm civets, black stork, tiger, white-breasted kingfisher, monitor lizard, python and sloth bear. The name "Ntangki" is derived from the Zeme dialect of the Zeliangrong tribe.Ostenholz Moor
Ostenholz Moor (German: Ostenholzer Moor) is a raised bog on the Lüneburg Heath in the German state of Lower Saxony. It is named after the village of Ostenholz and is not far from Meißendorf. The bog is almost entirely within the Bergen-Hohne Military Training Area and, as a result, has been largely left to develop naturally. The River Meiße separates Ostenholz Moor from the nature and bird reserve of the Meißendorf Lakes and Bannetzer Moor.
The bog's landscape largely forms a natural boundary for the actual nature reserve which has been purchased by Celle district. The Meißendorf Lakes, formerly a network of ponds for fish-farming, are today the most important migration and breeding ground for numerous marsh and water birds. Around 250 species of bird may be seen here, including the crane, the black stork and the osprey.Parika Nature Reserve
Parika Nature Reserve (Estonian: Parika looduskaitseala) is a nature reserve in Viljandi County in southern Estonia.
The nature reserve is situated in and around Parika bog, and consists of a system of bogs and small lakes. It is an important habitat for several species of orchid, including coralroot orchid, common spotted orchid and common twayblade, but also other e.g. Nymphaea candida. The bird-life of the nature reserve is also rich; species commonly found here include the lesser spotted eagle, black stork and grey heron. Two trails for visitors have been prepared in the nature reserve.Rubina Nature Reserve
Rubina Nature Reserve (Estonian: Rubina looduskaitseala) is a nature reserve in Viljandi County in southern Estonia.
The nature reserve is aimed at protecting the rare forested wetland landscape in the area, and the flora and fauna that thrives there. The area, rich in bogs, swamps and lakes, is an important resting place for migratory birds, but also supports a permanent population of birds such as black stork and white-tailed eagle. The wetlands in the area also support fish, such as the protected European weatherfish (Misgurnus fossilis). The flora in the nature reserve is notable for the large number of unusual orchids that can be found there.Sirtsi Nature Reserve
Sirtsi Nature Reserve is a nature reserve situated in western Estonia, and straddles the border between Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru County.
The nature reserve was founded first and foremost to protect brown bears in the area. It is centred on a system of mires and a bog, and the surrounding forests. Apart from brown bear, the nature reserve also functions as a sanctuary for other large mammals such as Eurasian lynx and gray wolf. In addition, shy animals such as black stork and Siberian flying squirrel live in the reserve.The former winter road between Central Estonia and Saint Petersburg ran through this area and its course can still be identified.Stork
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long, stout bills. They belong to the family called Ciconiidae, and make up the order Ciconiiformes. Ciconiiformes previously included a number of other families, such as herons and ibises, but those families have been moved to other orders.Storks dwell in many regions and tend to live in drier habitats than the closely related herons, spoonbills and ibises; they also lack the powder down that those groups use to clean off fish slime. Bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Many species are migratory. Most storks eat frogs, fish, insects, earthworms, small birds and small mammals. There are nineteen living species of storks in six genera.
Various terms are used to refer to groups of storks, two frequently used ones being a muster of storks and a phalanx of storks.
Storks tend to use soaring, gliding flight, which conserves energy. Soaring requires thermal air currents. Ottomar Anschütz’s famous 1884 album of photographs of storks inspired the design of Otto Lilienthal's experimental gliders of the late nineteenth century. Storks are heavy, with wide wingspans: the marabou stork, with a wingspan of 3.2 m (10 ft) and weight up to 8 kg (18 lb), joins the Andean condor in having the widest wingspan of all living land birds.
Their nests are often very large and may be used for many years. Some nests have been known to grow to over two metres (six feet) in diameter and about three metres (ten feet) in depth. Storks were once thought to be monogamous, but this is only partially true. They may change mates after migrations, and may migrate without a mate.
Storks’ size, serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to their prominence in mythology and culture.Terai Arc Landscape
Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) is composed of 14 Indian and Nepalese trans-border protected ecosystems of the Terai (Sanskrit for "lowlands") and nearby foothills of the Himalayas. and encompassing 14 protected areas of Nepal and India. The area spans approximately 12.3 million acres (5 million hectares) and includes Nepal's Bagmati River to the east and India's Yamuna River to the west.
The TAL is home to many endangered mammals including the Bengal tiger (of which it has one of the world's highest densities), the Indian rhinoceros, the gaur, the wild Asian elephant, the hispid hare, the sloth bear, the South Asian river dolphin and the chital, as well as over 500 species of birds, many endangered. Examples of birds are the endangered Bengal florican, the sarus crane, and the black stork.
The rivers and wetlands of the TAL are rich and diverse ecosystems with many endemic species that support, besides birds and mammals, a wide range of fish, amphibians, and fresh water crustaceans.However, the area faces many challenges to the wildlife. Of the 14 protected areas within the TAL, none is large enough, by itself, to sustain a population of tigers over time. If the protected areas were to be linked by wildlife corridors, individual tigers would be able to move from area to area, furthering its ability to survive long-term.TAL is densely populated and its welfare is of critical importance to its human and animal life. Its approximately three million people are among the world's poorest (50% live below the poverty live) and generally subsist on the land.As of the beginning of 2013, the Indian government will give a donation to farmers who grow flowers in the Terai.The Black Stork
The Black Stork is a 1917 motion picture written by and starring Harry J. Haiselden, the chief surgeon at the German-American Hospital in Chicago. The Black Stork is Haiselden's fictionalized account of his eugenic infanticide of the child John Bollinger. The film was re-released in 1927 under the title Are You Fit to Marry?Ukok Plateau
Ukok Plateau is a remote and pristine grasslands area located in the heart of southwestern Siberia, the Altai Mountains region of Russia near the borders with China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The plateau is recognized as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site entitled Golden Mountains of Altai as an important environmental treasure. It provides a habitat for many of the world's endangered species including one of its least studied predatory animals: the snow leopard. Other endangered species protected there include the argali mountain sheep, the steppe eagle, and the black stork. There are several threats to the preservation of the Ukok Plateau, including overuse of the steppe by ranchers, a proposed road, and plans for a gas pipeline between China and Russia.Viidumäe Nature Reserve
Viidumäe Nature Reserve (Estonian: Viidumäe looduskaitseala) is a nature reserve situated on Saaremaa in western Estonia, in Saare County.
Viidumäre nature reserve consists mostly of pine- and oak-forest, complemented with meadows, bogs and traditionally utilised wooded meadows. The nature reserve is located in the west of Saaremaa, on the oldest and highest lying part of the island. The nature reserve is important for its great biodiversity. As regards to the flora, the nature reserve is home to the Rhinanthus osiliensis, a species of rattle which can only be found on Saaremaa and Gotland islands in the Baltic Sea. Other notable species include red helleborine, marsh helleborine, Kashubian vetch and rock whitebeam. The bird life is rich with species like black woodpecker, Eurasian pygmy owl, black stork and white-tailed eagle as typical representatives. Mammals such as elk and wild boar are frequent in the area. Facilities for visitors include bird watching towers, hiking trails with information boards and a visitor centre.