This is a broad winged soaring bird, which relies on moving between thermals of hot air for sustained long distance flight. Since thermals only form over land, storks, together with large raptors, must cross the Mediterranean at the narrowest points, and many hundreds can be seen going through the straits of Gibraltar and the Bosphorus.
This is a huge bird, 100cm tall with a 200cm wingspan. It is all white except for the black wing flight feathers, and its red bill and legs. It walks slowly and steadily on the ground. Like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched.
It breeds in open farmland areas with access to marshy wetlands. It builds a stick nest in trees, on buildings, or special platforms. Because it is viewed as bird of good luck, it is not persecuted, and nests close to human habitation. In southern Europe, storks' nests can often be seen on churches and other buildings. It often forms small colonies.
The decline in the north of its range may be due to the drainage of wetlands and collisions with overhead power lines.
The White Stork, like most of its relatives, takes mainly frogs and large insects, but also young birds, lizards and rodents.
This stork is almost silent except for the noisy mutual bill-clattering when adults meet at the nest.
According to mythology, the 'stork' is responsible for bringing babies to new parents. This story probably came about because White Storks have a habit of nesting on chimney stacks in urban areas, so they are often seen around human habitation.