Black Stork

Black Stork

Black Stork - Ciconia nigra

Undoubtedly lesser known that its fellow species, the White Stork, the Black Stork is an elegant wader which frequents the marshes of northern Tuscany during its migration.  

Almost totally black, except for its white belly and tail, with red bill and legs, the Black Stork is easily recognizable.
It is a migratory species and passes the winter season in Africa south of the Sahara.  

In our country it is often sighted precisely during its migration, in spring and autumn: not being a gregarious species like the White Stork, usually just individual specimens are seen flying alone or at the most in  small groups.

Its nesting areal in Europe extends from the mountainous regions of Spain, France and Germany as far as Eastern Europe. Only recently has it nested in Italy, with a total of 4-6 pairs on the Alps and Calabrian Apennines.

Unlike the White Stork, it is not associated with the presence of man, on the contrary it is shier and more reserved. 

It often nests in forests and hilly woods or mountains, where it builds its nest on trees or rocky precipices in undisturbed areas, often near water.

It feeds on insects, various invertebrates, but more often on amphibians and fish.

The Black Stork is a rare and threatened species all over Europe: over the last few years the destruction of suitable nesting habitats and poaching have drastically reduced the population to just a few thousand pairs.