Fr: Cigogne orientale
Ang: Oriental Stork
All: Schwarzschnabelstorch
Esp: Cigüeña Oriental
Ita: Cicogna bianca orientale
Nd: Zwartsnavelooievaar
Sd: amurstork


Jean Michel Fenerole
Photos d’Oiseaux du monde

Ken Havard
My Bird Gallery & Flickr gallery 1 & Flickr gallery 2

Illustration and text by Nicole Bouglouan

Sources :

HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD vol 1 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334105

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

BirdLife International

HBW Alive

ARKive (Christopher Parsons)

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Mystery Bird – theguardian

Post-Mating Sexual Behaviors of Oriental Storks (Ciconia boyciana) in Captivity



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Summary Cards


Length: 110-115 cm
Wingspan: 195-200 cm
Weight: M: 5,20 kg – F: 4,35 kg

The Oriental Stork adult has typical black and white plumage, with black lower scapulars, tertials, greater coverts, primaries and secondaries, the latter with silvery-white fringes conspicuous in flight. Body and tail are white.
The long, deep-based, pointed bill is black, with red base to lower mandible, and red gular area and lores. The eyes are whitish, surrounded by narrow, red eyering. Legs and feet are deep red. (The White Stork has red bill and dark eyes.)
Male and female have similar plumage, but the male is slightly larger than the female.
The immature resembles adults but it is duller overall, and lacks the bright red markings of the face, or they are much duller.

The Oriental Stork was formerly found in Japan, China, Korea and Russia. It is extinct in Japan and Korea where it bred until 1960s and 1977s respectively.
This species breeds in SE Siberia and in some parts of NE China. It winters mainly in S and SE China, with a few in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. It is recorded as summer vagrant in E Mongolia.

The Oriental Stork breeds in open freshwater wetlands and tidal flats where it nests in tall trees or on pylons. It favours the marshes with clumps of trees, the wet grasslands and also riverbanks, often in woodlands.
On the wintering grounds, it frequents wetland habitats, including estuarine and freshwater.      

The Oriental Stork uses bill-clattering to communicate, and this sound accompanies the displays at nest. Varying extents of weak whistling can be heard prior to the loud bill-clattering periods.

During the breeding season, the Oriental Stork is loosely colonial and more often solitary nester. A new nest can be built, but an old one is often arranged are reused in several successive years. It usually becomes huge.
Information on displays is lacking, but we can suggest that this behaviour is similar to that of the White Stork, with bill-clattering accompanying the ceremonies between mates at nest with head and neck movements, and mutual preening.

The Oriental Stork is migratory and moves S after breeding. It leaves the breeding grounds in mid-September/mid-October, and returns in March/April. They sometimes move large distances between different wintering sites. They migrate between mid-morning and late afternoon. They do not fly in any regular formations.

The Oriental Stork soars easily thanks to the long, broad wings. It flies with outstretched neck. The usual flight consists of soaring alternated with flapping periods.

The breeding season starts in mid-April and the laying occurs in April/May.
The Oriental Stork breeds in loose colonies of 4-7 nests, or more often solitary, with nests 1-4 km apart. It nests in tall trees, between 3 and 30 metres above the ground, generally between 10 and 15 metres. The nest-site requires good visibility on the surroundings. Other sites such as buildings and electric pylons are used too, but this species nests away from human settlements. They often reuse an old nest, and they add more material each year, especially sticks, making the structure bulky and impressive.

The female lays 3-4 eggs at 2-5 days intervals. Both adults share the incubation during 31-35 days. At hatching, the chicks have white down and flesh-coloured to dull orange bill. However, the red markings of the face are yet visible.
They are fed by both parents by regurgitation onto the floor of the nest, where the food is easily taken by the small chicks.
The young fledge about 55 days after hatching, but they leave the nest at 63-70 days old.
The breeding success is closely related to rainfall involving abundance of preys.      

Oriental Stork
Ciconia boyciana

Ciconiiformes Order – Ciconiidae Family

The Oriental Stork is included in the subfamily Ciconiini which gathers the “typical” storks of genus Ciconia. This species was formerly a subspecies of the White Stork (C. ciconia), but it differs by some morphological features.
The Oriental Stork is listed as Endangered, due to habitat loss and hunting. It occurs in E Eurasia, along the border of Russia and in mainland China where it breeds. This species is migratory.

The Oriental Stork feeds on fish, frogs, reptiles, insects, earthworms, small birds and small mammals, like most of Ciconiidae. Insects include orthoptera, coleopteran and hymenoptera.
During winter, it takes fish, shellfish and crustaceans including snails, shrimps and crabs. Some plant matter is also consumed.

The Oriental Stork forages by walking slowly in shallow water or on the ground in dry pastures. The fish is taken at the base of the tail with the terminal part of the long bill. On land, the preys are located by sight.
It usually feeds alone or in small groups of 10-15 individuals. They forage in the morning and late afternoon during winter, but more often during the nesting period.

The Oriental Stork has very small population estimated at 3,000 individuals in 1999, but the global population was recently estimated at 1,000/2,499 mature individuals.
This species is threatened by deforestation and drainage of wetlands for agriculture expansion, overfishing and disturbance. The birds are hunted and collected for zoos in China and Russia, in spite of legal protection. These threats are the main causes of rapid population decline.
The Oriental Stork is currently listed as Endangered, and the species is legally protected throughout its range.