(2207) Ciconia ciconia ciconia.
The White Stork.
Ardea ciconia Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th ed., i, p. 142 (1758) (Sweden). Ciconia alba. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 369 (part.).
Vernacular names. Lay-lag, Haji Lag-lag, Ujli, Dhak, Ghybur (Hind.); Wadumi Konga (Tel.) ; Lak-lak (Sind).
Description. Longer scapulars, greater and primary coverts black; primaries black with the extreme base white; outer secondaries black, the outer web silvered over with grey except at the edge; remainder of plumage white; the feathers of the head, neck and breast long and lanceolate.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; the orbital skin black; bill blood-red; legs and feet red.
Measurements, wing 530 (Witherby) to 635 mm.; tail 215 to 240 mm.; tarsus 195 to 240 mm.; culmen 150 (Witherby) to 220 mm. (Hartert) ; wing 530 to 590 mm.; culmen about 140 to 175 mm.
Young birds. Like the adult but the black parts are brown or tinged brown and some of: the shorter scapulars have brown centres.
Nestling in down all white.
Distribution. Europe, Northern Africa and Western Asia to Lake Baikal, Turkestan, Persia etc. In Winter South to North-West India commonly and thence Southwards, but rare South of the Deccan, though occurring as far South as Ceylon.
Nidification. The White Stork breeds from March in the South to late May in Scandinavia, building a nest of sticks on the top of some building, tall tree or rock. Over a great part of Europe it selects farmhouses and other inhabited buildings but in Africa many nests may he seen on the ruins of the ancient and half-buried cities of the desert. It formerly frequently built on buildings in Scandinavian towns but better drainage and stricter ideas as to cleanliness have forced the birds to leave for places where scavenging is more profitable. The nests are occupied, repaired and added to year after year until they are of huge dimensions. The eggs number three to five and are pure white with a smooth texture, generally, but not always, rather pitted. One hundred and twenty eggs average 73.2 x 58.8 mm.: maxima 81.5 x 46.5 and 71.7 x 55.7 mm.; minima 65.5 x 49.6 and 81.5 x 46.5 mm. (Jerdon and others).
Habits. The White Stork is only a Winter visitor to India and is not uncommon in Sind and the North-West, straggling South to the Deccan and to Ceylon, where however it does not breed, whilst East it occurs as far as Behar. It arrives in small flocks but single birds and pairs are often seen. It keeps in India to wide, open plains and marshes, feeding on all sorts of reptiles, fish and large insects. The flight is powerful but leisurely and it often soars with unmoving outspread wings like a Vulture. It has no voice beyond a low hissing but makes a loud clapping noise when excited by snapping its mandibles together repeatedly.