Ciconia ciconia Linnaeus, 1758
Class: Aves - Order: Ciconiiformes - Family: Ciconiidae
Status: Natura 2000 Code: A031. This species is listed in Annex I of the Wild Birds Directive (2009/147/EC), Appendix II of the Bern Convention, and Annex I of Regional Law n. 23/1998. On the Italian Red List, it is classified as "Least Concern" (LC).
Distribution: This is a long-range migrating species. It is widespread throughout Eurasia and North Africa, and it spends the winter in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Morphology: It is a large bird, as it is more than a meter in length and its wingspan can be up to 2.20 meters. It is almost completely white, although the end of its wings (its flight feathers) are black. Its legs, neck, and beak are very long. The adults have a bright red beak.
Habitat and ecology: It is possible to see it in open areas and wetlands, but it is not closely linked to them. For resting and feeding, it prefers rice fields, moors with scattered trees, open wetlands, river banks, and lakes. During its migration period, some isolated individuals rest on the roofs of farms or small villages. Its diet includes a wide variety of small invertebrates and vertebrates, including small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and earthworms. In wet periods, it feeds on aquatic prey, while in dry periods it feeds on insects and mice. The breeding season starts between February and April in the Palaearctic region. In Italy, the building of nests mostly begins between April and May. It nests in trees, ruins, huts, and buildings of all kinds, as well as on electric poles with apical platforms. The nest is a large structure that is used for several years. it is composed of branches and tufts of grass mixed with earth. The female lays four eggs, which hatch after 33 days of incubation. The brooding is carried out by both sexes.
There have not been any documented cases of nesting within this Site of Community Importance. On the plateau, this species mainly frequents open areas near paùlis and wet meadows. It can also be found near temporary crops and among areas with natural pastures.
Photo © Provincia Medio Campidano