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Ciconia ciconia

warning Vulnerable
VU (A2a,C1,C2a1,D1)

Contributed: Zev Labinger, Avner Rinot, Lior Kislev, Asaf Mayrose

White Storks are classified as Vulnerable (VU) because of the continued decline of their population size and range, combined with the regional adjustment for the fact that the breeding population in Israel is a marginal population at the edge of the species’ global range. The population size is below 50 mature adults and the rate of decline is estimated at more than 50% over three generations (49.5 years). In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Near Threatened (NT). The change in its status reflects a deterioration in the population status, as well as differences in assessment methods.
VU Current Regional Assessment | NT Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Cropland, Rural Areas
Presence In Israel Summer Breeder, Migrant
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoography Zones Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian
Landscape Formations Plains & Valleys, Rural Area
Vegetation Formations Cropland, Steppe, Herbaceous
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Buildings
Diet Types Invertebrate, Vertebrate
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Large (over 1000g)
Threat Factors Unknown

The White Stork is a large bird, with a long neck and legs, one of the most prominent and well-known birds in Israel. White Storks can be identified by their white plumage, black flight feathers, narrow black eye stripe and their red beak and legs. In flight, the neck is stretched forward, the legs protrude beyond the tail, and the contrast between the black primary feathers and the white coverts and body plumage is very noticeable. Storks are usually quiet, but during the breeding season, they clack their beaks noisily, and stretch their neck and head backwards.

White Storks pass over Israel in large numbers in spring and autumn. They are relatively common winter visitors and rare breeders in the Golan Heights and along the Jordan Valley.
Storks nested in Israel in the past, and only resumed breeding in the 1970s. During the 1980s the number of breeding pairs in Israel reached about 15, most of them in the Golan. Since then there has been a gradual decline and in recent years there are only 5-6 breeding pairs, and their breeding success is very low (Sondra Turjeman, pers. comm.).

White Storks nest in open areas, which usually include water bodies or wetlands, such as irrigated fields, meadows, lakeshores and pools. The large nest is built on rooftops, electrical poles and trees.

No specific conservation measures have been taken for this species to this day.

  • זו-ארץ, ש. 1990. קינון החסידה הלבנה בישראל. ארץ וטבע
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • , 2002. Willem Van den Bossche, Peter Berthold, Michael Kaatz, Eugeniusz Nowak and Ulrich QuernerEastern European White Stork populations: migration studies and elaboration of conservation measuresGerman Federal Agency for Nature Conservation 2002
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Zev Labinger, Avner Rinot, Lior Kislev, Asaf Mayrose

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

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