Black Stork wintering in Catalonia?

Since 20 years ago to see White Storks wintering in the whole of Spain has become a commonview. They feed on wetlands, open fields and rivers but also, and many times mostly, in trash centres. Here they feed on a variety of items with a big short term success but with an uncertain success in the medium and long terms.

Black Storks have a really different behavious as they are little likely to be found in trash centres and similars. They mainly feed on fish and frogs to be found along rivers and streams, mainly inside or nearly forested areas. Black Storks, as many Whites are migratory birds, arriving to European nesting sites in April and leaving the continent in September and October.

In Catalonia Black Storks are only migratory birds as no breeding population is settle in the country. Nevertheless in the past five years some birds appear as soon as January and February. They are supposed to arrive from Southern Spain, where little numbers of them remain in winter.

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Black Stork white Whites at the roof of the Lleida waste centre. Note the longer, more pointed bill when comparing with White Storks.


This winter seems to be different, thought. One Black Stork has been seen around the Lleida trash centre during the las 40 days. It feeds directly in the trash along with White Storks as well as look for food in the fields around. The last sight of this bird (an adult) was on 23th November, in one of our tours.

That day we saw the bird resting along with White Storks at the roof of the Lleida trash centre main building. After 20 minutes the bird was going on ground to feed on trash along with several White Storks, Red Kites, Jackdaws and other.

This is of interest both because it seems to become probably the first Black Stork wintering in Catalonia and because of the mymethic behaviour of White Storks. If this is a punctual case or a new tendency in this species it is to be see in the future.


Black Stork in a crowed image with White Storks. Note smaller size and more horizontal position of the body when resting.


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