Oriental Stork (Ciconia boyciana)

Oriental Stork

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ciconiidae | [latin] Ciconia boyciana | [authority] Swinhoe, 1873 | [UK] Oriental Stork | [FR] Cigogne orientale | [DE] Schwarzschnabel-Storch | [ES] Ciguena Oriental | [NL] Zwartsnavelooievaar


Monotypic species


Storks are rather well represented in the world fossil record, although no comprehensive review of them has been attempted. The earliest records come from the Late Eocene of Egypt. After taxa incorrectly referred to this family were removed, the earliest named species became Palaeoephippiorhynchus dietrichi Lambrecht, 1930 (Late Oligocene; Egypt). The stork family (Ciconiidae) includes 17-19 species, depending upon which classification is followed. They are widely distributed, mainly in the Old World Tropics. Being large, conspicuous, and easily observed, storks are well known birds throughout their range. Several populations are threatened or endangered. The seven species of “typical” storks of the genus ciconia are all somewhat similar, with mainly black-and-white plumage and straight bills.

Physical charateristics

Typical white-and-black stork with distinctive black bill. All white, apart from contrasting black lower scapulars, tertials, greater coverts, primaries and secondaries. Red legs. Juveniles have browner greater coverts and duller legs. Similar spp. White Stork C. ciconia adult has shorter orange-red bill and juvenile has brownish-red bill

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 100 cm size max.: 112 cm
incubation min.: 32 days incubation max.: 35 days
fledging min.: 55 days fledging max.: 60 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : East. The Oriental white stork breeds along the border of Russia and mainland China, particularly in the Amur River and Ussuri River basins. It winters in the lower Yangtze River basin and southern China, although small numbers are also found in North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and occasionally in the Philippines, northeastern India, Burma and Bangladesh. It may also be found as a summer vagrant in eastern Mongolia. The current population is thought to stand at 3,000 birds, following considerable declines in Russia


It nests on tall trees and artificial structures such as electricity pylons. It feeds on fish and small animals in open, usually fresh water, wetlands, and occasionally coastal tidal flats


Arrival at the breeding sites occurs in April, when the Oriental white stork begins building a new nest, or repairing an old one. The female lays between two and six eggs which are incubated for 32 to 35 days. Following hatching in late May and early June, the chicks are fed by both parents until July. The chicks’ survival is largely dependent on the amount of local rainfall, as feeding conditions are improved by heavy rain.

Feeding habits

Feeding takes place in water and the Oriental white stork will take fish, frogs, invertebrates, insects, voles, snakes, and even the chicks of other species. In July and August the storks return to the wintering grounds, where they forage in the morning and late afternoon for clams, fish, snails, shrimps, crabs, frogs, snakes, bamboo and other plant material.

Video Oriental Stork


copyright: Vicky Cheng


This stork is listed as Endangered because it has a very small population, which has undergone a rapid decline that is projected to continue in the future, based on current levels of deforestation, wetland reclamation for agriculture, overfishing, and disturbance.
Ciconia boyciana breeds in the Amur and Ussuri basins along the border of Russia and mainland China. It is a summer vagrant in eastern Mongolia. The main wintering grounds are in the lower Yangtze basin and southern China, as far south as Taiwan (China) and Hong Kong (China). Small numbers winter in North Korea and South Korea and Japan and irregularly in the Philippines, north-eastern India, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The population is estimated at 3000 individuals, with significant declines in breeding birds reported in Russia. The 2005 Yangtze waterbird survey recorded 1194 individuals.
Oriental Stork status Endangered


The Oriental White Stork is a migratory species, migrating about 3000 km from the breeding grounds in the Amur region in China and Russia to the main wintering ground in the Yangtse basin in China.

Distribution map

Oriental Stork distribution range map

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