European white stork in exhibit

European White Stork

Scientific Name

Ciconia ciconia






Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia


Wetlands, savannas, meadows, and fields

Estimated Wild Population

European white stork in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Large birds, European white storks can reach up to 40 inches in height and have a wingspan measuring up to eight feet across. Their white body feathers are offset by black wing feathers. Long, thin legs enable them to wade easily through shallow water, where they hunt insects, frogs, rodents, lizards, snakes, and small birds. They often live and nest near humans, favoring tall trees, chimneys, and rooftops as nesting sites.

Interesting Fact 1

European white storks use their long, pointed bill to spear prey.

Interesting Fact 2

They are monogamous, meaning breeding pairs mate for life.

Interesting Fact 3

These birds return to the same nest every year, with the male arriving a few days before the female to repair and enlarge the structure.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy. 

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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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