Black Stork

(Ciconia nigra)




Facts about this animal

The black stork is a medium-sized stork, 95 to 100cm tall and weighing around 3 kg, with black head, breast, neck and wings. The belly and under side of the tail are white. The feet and beak are red.

These storks mate for life. Both male and female storks build the nest together and share parental duties. Breeding season begins in May. Two to five eggs are laid in a large stick nest over 2 days. Eggs are incubated by both parents and hatch in about 36 days. Young take flight around the age of 3 months and attain sexual maturity in 3 years.

Black storks hunt for food by wading in shallow water and capturing it with their spear-like beaks

Did you know?
that black storks build unusually large nests? The diameter can measure 1.5 meters and they may be one meter thick.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Ciconia nigra
Name (English) Black Stork
Name (French) Cigogne noire
Name (German) Schwarzstorch
Name (Spanish) Cigüeña negra
Local names Afrikaans: Swart oiievaar
Czech: Cáp cerný
Dutch: Zwarte Ooievaar
Finnish: Mustahaikara
Hungarian: Fekete gólya
Italian: Cicogna nera
Polish: Bocian czarny
Portuguese: Cegonha-preta
Slovak: Bocian cierny
Swedish, Nowegian: Svart stork
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Till Niermann



Range Africa, Asia, Europe Originally a palearctic species wintering in Africa, the black stork has in recent decades succeeded in establishing stable breeding populations in Southern Africa.
Habitat Wooded areas, riverside cliffs, lakes, rivers and marshy fields
Wild population Approx. 32'000 - 44'000 (2002)
Zoo population 161 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Black Stork


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Marek Szczepanek

Why do zoos keep this animal

Zoos keep the black stork primarily for educational reasons, as a lesser known native species in Europe, and for comparison with the white stork, which is similar in general morphology, but differs in coliour, and in particular shows a completely different behaviour ("Kulturfolger" versus "Kulturflüchter").

European zoos undertake efforts to maintain a selfsustaining ex situ population under an EEP, and a few zoos have made available birds for reintroduction projects.