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Foraging of White Stork Ciconia ciconia in Forests – The Heritage of an Ancient Behaviour?

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The white stork Ciconia ciconia is a typical open-area species, foraging mainly in farmland and wetland areas. The main aim of this paper was to describe the foraging ecology of white storks inside un-typical habitat, i.e. forests in Poland. Data on white stork feeding in forests were based on responses to questionnaires distributed to several national mailing lists with a total of 1700 (16% subscribers) and via emails to naturalists (mainly to white stork researchers). In total 63 observations, from the years 2000-2015, were collected, mainly from eastern Poland. In all cases, only a single adult individual was recorded inside the forest, with a mean (±SD) distance to the forest edge of 50 ± 102 m (n = 597) and 1315 ± 1015 m (n = 63) to the nearest white stork nest. Birds foraging inside forests were recorded from late May to mid-August, but the greatest numbers were seen during June. The main prey was a lizard, the slow-worm Anguis fragilis, with a maximum of 10 individuals collected by a stork during one foraging session. We discuss the origin of the observed foraging behaviour, noting that the species is flexible and opportunistic in terms of consumed food. The observed foraging is probably similar to the original behaviour of the species within primeval forest, although food opportunism helps the white stork to use new foraging areas, for example landfills.
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Bibliogr. 29 poz., fot., rys., wykr.
  • Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71C, 60-625 Poznań, Poland
  • Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology and Wildlife Management, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Poland
  • The Polish Society for Bird Protection (PTOP), Ciepła 17, 15-471 Białystok, Poland
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Opracowanie rekordu w ramach umowy 509/P-DUN/2018 ze środków MNiSW przeznaczonych na działalność upowszechniającą naukę (2019).
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