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White Stork

Ciconia ciconia

CONSERVATION STATUS.

Population trend of White Storks in Armenia is slightly inclining, as well as its average reproductive success demonstrates increase in average. In past the Storks have been demonstrating low reproductive rate, as well as at current some areas are showing low nestling output. The reason is pollution by chlorine-organic pesticides, which have been widely used in the agriculture before, and those residuals are still remaining in the soil and are being involved in the biological cycles due to improper irrigation.

HABITAT.

The Storks are breeding in the settlements putting their nests predominantly on the electric pylons. However, their foraging places are located in nearby wetlands, both: natural, such as shallow marshes, lakes and ponds, and artificial ones, such as fish-farms, water reservoirs, and sometimes canals. The Storks definitely prefer flatter habitats and occupy plateaus and valleys. 

FEEDING BEHAVIOR.

Being quite opportunistic, the Storks take whatever large invertebrates and small vertebrates are available. Carrion sometimes taken and many scavenge for scraps at landfill rubbish dumps and on slaughterhouse offal, especially in winter.

 

EGGS.

Mean clutch four eggs (–7); incubation 33–34 days. The species is single-brooded, with occasional cases of replacement clutch. Chicks have white down and black bill; their feeding in the nest takes 58–64 days.

YOUNG.

After fledging the young birds are often observed training their flights and later are making mixed flocks with adults.

DIET.

Recorded prey includes small mammals (e.g. MicrotusArvicola), large insects (especially ColeopteraOrthoptera), young and adult amphibians (RanaBufo), reptiles (snakes, lizards), earthworms and fish.

NESTING.

Large stick nest, may be 2·5 m deep or more, lined with turf, dung, paper, etc. In Armenia it is usually placed on the electric pylons and on roofs of building. Nests are also recorded to be placed on other man-made sites. Nesting on cliffs and even on ground, among rushes, has never been recorded in Armenia. Same nest regularly reused in successive years.

MIGRATION.

The species is mostly migratory with the wintering areas located from Iran throughout Arabian Peninsula; however in recent years a wintering population was formed in Armenia, which predominantly feeds at the dump sites and at the poultry and fish-farms, taking the offal.

DISTRIBUTION.

The species breeds in the Europe, Caucasus, Northern Africa, and Central Asia and is wintering in Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Armenia is inhabited by nominate subspecies, which occupies almost entire range of the species except of Central Asia.

CONSERVATION MEASURES.

The species is listed in IUCN Red List as Least Concern, also it is included in the Convention on Migratory Species - Appendix II, EU Birds Directive - Annex II, and Bern Convention - Annex III. Taking into consideration the increasing population trend of the species in the country, there is no need of its inclusion into the Red Book of Animals of Armenia. Some parts of Storks' distribution range are already included in the Emerald Network (2016) protected under Bern Convention, and also are covered by some National Parks of the COuntry, however vast majority of the population lives in the working lands. At current there is no need for development of the conservation measures to protect the Storks, however its monitoring remains essential as can demonstrate issues related to habitat pollution, shortage of food supply , and other issues related to wetland habitats.

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