Thursday, 28 March 2013

White Stork - National Bird of Belarus

One of the largest birds in the stork family is the white stork which is characterized by a white plumage and black wings. The European White Stork is a member of the Stork family, Ciciniidae and shares a close relationship and resemblance with Maguire Stork of South America and the Oriental White Stork of East Asia. It is a National Bird of Belarus.

Interesting & Amazing Facts about White Stork are:
  1. It is a large one measuring around 100 to 120 cm from the tip of its beak to its tail and has a wingspan of 190 to 220 cm.
  2. It is a light bird weighing only around 2 to 4.5kgs.
  3. The two sexes appear almost identical although males can be slightly larger.
  4. It has a white plumage with feathers black and shiny. Both the legs and the beak are red in color.
  5. The white stork is almost voiceless and largely silent, although it does communicate with brief hissing noises and, most importantly, bill-clattering; this is most pronounced during breeding and nesting and the sound can carry great distances.
  6. White Storks are highly opportunistic feeders who will consume a wide variety of prey items including insects, frogs, toads, tadpoles, fish, rodents, snakes, lizards, earthworms, mollusks, crustaceans, and, rarely, the chicks or eggs of ground-nesting birds.
  7. Its behavior is highly opportunistic and it will consume whichever item is most available; as a result large groups reaching hundreds of thousands may form around abundant food sources, such as swarms of locusts
  8. The White storks prefer to feed in areas of shallow wetlands and farmlands, grassy meadows and avoids areas having tall grasses and shrubs.
  9. The white stork bird breeds in open farmlands, marshy wetlands, and builds nests in trees, and on roof tops.
  10. The male uses the Head-Shaking Crouch display method as a way of attracting the female.
  11. The nests made by them are usually huge in size, constructed of sticks and branches, grasses, twigs, rags, and other materials. The nests are usually 1m in diameter but may grow up to 2 to 3m depending on the nature and amount of the material used.
  12. The female white stork lays only three to four eggs which may also be as many as seven in exceptional cases.
  13. The young chicks have black bills and white body. This nurturance may continue till the chicks learn to fledge which happens within eight to nine weeks since birth.

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