White Stork

Ciconia ciconia (Linnaeus, 1758) OR WHIST 1340
Family: Ciconiiformes > Ciconiidae

White Stork, John Proudlock

Very much a breeding bird of southern Europe, this red-billed, black and white stork has a small breeding population in southern England, the result of a reintroduction attempt.

The only documented record of a pair of White Storks breeding in Britain is from Scotland in 1416, when a pair was reported to have nested on St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. A small but successful reintroduction programme in East Sussex is responsible for recent breeding attempts.

White Stork populations in southern Europe used to be wholly migratory but a partnership study involving BTO has shown that some White Storks in Portugal are now remain resident throughout the year, a change in behaviour made possible by the availability of feeding opportunities at landfill sites.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the White Stork

  • Breeding
  • Winter


White Stork identification is usually straightforward.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of White Stork, provided by xeno-canto contributors.


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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.


We have no population estimates for this scarce species.


White Storks are scarce migrants with a scattering of records, mostly in southern Britain. A current reintroduction program in southeast England is leading to increasing numbers of records and the provenance of individual records is increasingly hard to determine.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


We do not currently have a distribution change for this scarce migrant.


White Storks are rare and encountered sporadically throughout the year. Expect this picture to change with the movements of reintroduced birds.

Weekly occurence of White Stork from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.

An overview of year-round movements for the whole of Europe can be seen on the EuroBirdPortal viewer.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of White Stork ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about White Stork, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.


Sample sizes are too small to report Productivity and Nesting statistics for this species.


Sample sizes are too small to report Biometrics for this species.

Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Corra-bhàn
Welsh: Ciconia Gwyn
Catalan: cigonya blanca
Czech: cáp bílý
Danish: Hvid Stork
Dutch: Ooievaar
Estonian: valge-toonekurg
Finnish: kattohaikara
French: Cigogne blanche
German: Weißstorch
Hungarian: fehér gólya
Icelandic: Hvítstorkur
Irish: Storc Bán
Italian: Cicogna bianca
Latvian: baltais starkis, svetelis
Lithuanian: baltasis gandras
Norwegian: Stork
Polish: bocian bialy
Portuguese: cegonha-branca
Slovak: bocian biely
Slovenian: bela štorklja
Spanish: Cigüeña blanca
Swedish: vit stork


Interpretation and scientific publications about White Stork from BTO scientists.


Peer-reviewed papers

Are white storks addicted to junk food? Impacts of landfill use on the movement and behaviour of resident white storks (Ciconia ciconia) from a partially migratory population

2016 | Gilbert, N.I., Correia, R.A., Silva, J.P., Pacheco,C., Catry, I., Atkinson,P.W., Gill, J.A. & Franco, A.M.A.Movement Ecology

Peer-reviewed papers
White Stork by John Proudlock, BTO

Timing is critical: consequences of asynchronous migration for the performance and destination of a long-distance migrant

Timing is critical for a long-distance migrant

2022 | Acácio, M., Catry, I., Soriano‑Redondo, A., Silva, J.P., Atkinson, P.W. & Franco, A.M.A.Movement Ecology

Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com

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