Ardea nigra Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden. Monotypic.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Cigogne noire; German: Schwarzstorch; Spanish: Cigьeсa Negra.
Length 37–39 in (95–100 cm), wingspan 57–61 in (144–155 cm); 6.6 lb (3 kg). Glossy black except for white feathering on belly. Red bill can appear slightly recurved.
Largest breeding range of any stork, nesting from eastern Europe through central Asia. Winters in Africa and Asian tropics. Separate resident population occurs in southern Africa.
Wooded areas with access to water.
More solitary than some other storks. Agile flier, can fly through the forest canopy. More vocal than other storks, communicates with variety of hisses and whistles.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Fish and occasionally aquatic invertebrates. Locates prey visually, grabbing food items with forward lunge of the head. Has been observed shading water with outstretched wings while hunting.
Monogamous. Solitary nester in trees, the same nest often used over many seasons. Sometimes “adopts” other bird nests, such as those of black eagles and hammerheads. Clutch size three to four eggs, incubation 32–38 days, fledging 63–71 days.
Declining locally from persecution and deforestation, especially in Europe.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Heavily hunted, especially during migration through southern Europe and Asia.
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