The Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae.
It is a widespread species that breeds in the warmer parts of Europe, predominantly in central and eastern regions. It is a strong migrant, wintering in tropical Africa. However, the Spanish population is resident.
This is a broad-winged soaring bird, which relies on moving between thermals of hot air for sustained long distance flight. Since thermals only form over land, storks, together with large raptors, must cross the Mediterranean at the narrowest points, and many Black Storks can be seen going through the Bosphorus.
This is a huge bird, nearly 1 m tall with a 1.8 m wingspan. It is all black except for the white belly and axillaries, and its red bill and legs. It walks slowly and steadily on the ground. Like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched.
It breeds in large marshy wetlands with interspersed coniferous or broadlived woodlands, but inhabits also hills and mountains with sufficient network of creeks. It builds a stick nest high in trees. This is a shy and wary species, unlike the closely related White Stork.
The Black Stork, feeds mainly on fish and also amphibians and insects.
This stork has a rasping call, but rarely indulges in mutual bill-clattering when adults meet at the nest.
Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterstrom and Grant, Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0-00-219728-6