The white stork is a largely carnivorous bird, consuming a wide range of prey including small fish, snakes, frogs, molluscs, crustaceans, a variety of insects and, on occasion, some rodent species (4) (5). It forages in loose groups of up to 50 and searches for its prey visually; when located, it typically arches its neck back and jabs at the prey with its sharp-edged bill (5) (6). Its behaviour is highly opportunistic and it will consume whichever item is most available; as a result large groups reaching hundreds of thousands may form around abundant food sources, such as swarms of locusts (6).
During the breeding season, the white stork often forms loose informal colonies; up to nine pairs have been seen on one single rooftop (4). The male and female will stay together for the whole season but do not migrate together; if they reform their partnership in successive years it is typically due to attachment to the nest site rather than each other (5). Males will often arrive first and vigorously defend the nest site from intruders. The subsequent arrival of the female will initiate a fascinating and intricate courtship display involving the male shaking its ruff and vigorously bobbing its head (4). The pair will then build a huge, complex nest, with some reaching over two metres wide and three metres deep (4). Made from sticks, grass and other foliage, the nest is situated high up off the ground (6), and completion of the nest is often signified by placing one leafy branch on the top of the nest (4). The female will lay three to five eggs of a chalky-white colour which are incubated for 33 to 34 days. The chicks are fed by both parents via regurgitation and will eat up to 60 percent of their body weight each day, until around nine weeks of age when the chicks leave the nest (5). The white stork is believed to reach sexual maturity at around four years of age (5) and live for up to 33 years (4).