White Storks are tall, long-necked wading birds with long red legs and a straight, pointed red bill. The white plumage of the head, neck and body contrasts with the black wing feathers highlighted with a sheen of purple and green iridescence. A small patch of bare black skin surrounds their brown eyes.
It is also very easy to recognize the sound a Stork makes – they have a very characteristic way of clattering their bills together, sounding like the clattering of two thick sticks. The easiest way to see a Stork is probably on its nest, but you can also easily find it on wet meadows and newly mown fields.
Storks’ nests are very big and built in high places with good all-round views. In Uzbekistan Turkestan subspecies of White Stork Ciconia ciconia asiatica dwell. The biggest part of this subspecies’ population was wintering in China before.
How to recognize young from adult? The sexes are similar in appearance, though males are slightly larger. Youngsters have a grey bill and dull red legs. They are also more grayish than their snowy-white parents.
What do they eat? White storks feed on rodents, earthworms, grubs and all kind of small reptiles and amphibians. They do not have any preferred food - they nourish with animals that are most popular in the surrounding.
Stroks' nests In many countries of the world and in Uzbekistan White Storks build their nests close to human habitations. You can see their nests on the roofs, chimneys, telegraph poles. Storks go back to their nests every year or construct new nest not far from the old one. As is often the case Storks use the same nest for hundreds of years. Youngsters always try to return near to the place they were born.
Wintering Storks winter in Central Africa. Turkestan subspecies winter in China.
Distribution of Storks in Uzbekistan In Uzbekistan White Storks were breeding in the whole Surkhan river valley from Termez to Denau before. Before Karshi steppe development this bird was usual in Kashkadariya river basin. The largest habitat in recent times was in the middle and lower reach of Zarafshan river. However Storks disappeared from there in 1960 because of agricultural development.
Now the biggest and safest colony of White Stork exists in Fergana valley. There are some big colonies near Kokand and on one of Sirdaiya river islands between Pungan and Kayrakkum water reservoir. Total number of nesting pairs of White Stork in Fergana valley is over 500. In Tashkent region White Storks’ colonies exist in Sirdariya river valley and in lower reach of Chirchik and Angren rivers. In Central Asia White Stork traditionally enjoys human’s protection and faces persecution very seldom. His death can be caused by technical constructions and power lines.