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Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana
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This stork is listed as Endangered because it has a very small population, which has undergone a rapid decline that is projected to continue in the future, based on current levels of deforestation, wetland reclamation for agriculture, overfishing, and disturbance.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

100-115 cm. Typical white-and-black stork with distinctive black bill. All white, apart from contrasting black lower scapulars, tertials, greater coverts, primaries and secondaries. Red legs. Juveniles have browner greater coverts and duller legs. Similar spp. White Stork C. ciconia adult has shorter orange-red bill and juvenile has brownish-red bill.

Distribution and population
Ciconia boyciana breeds in the Amur and Ussuri basins along the border of Russia and mainland China (BirdLife International 2001), and small numbers breed in the lower reaches of the Wuyuerhe river in Heilongjiang province (Wu Qingming in litt. 2012). It is a summer vagrant in eastern Mongolia. The main wintering grounds are in the lower Yangtze basin and southern China, as far south as Taiwan (China) and Hong Kong (China). Small numbers winter in North Korea, South Korea and Japan, and irregularly in the Philippines, north-eastern India, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The population is estimated at 3,000 individuals (Xinzhong 1999, Zhiyong 1999), with significant declines in breeding birds reported in Russia. The 2005 Yangtze waterbird survey recorded 1,194 individuals (M. Barter in litt. 2006).

Population justification
The population was estimated at 3,000 individuals by Xinzhong (1999) and Zhiyong (1999). The 2005 Yangtze waterbird survey recorded 1,194 individuals (M. Barter in litt. 2006). National population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; < c.50 individuals on migration and < c.50 wintering individuals in Taiwan; < c.1,000 wintering individuals in Korea and < c.100 breeding pairs and < c.50 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009). Overall then, the population is likely to number 1,000 to 2,499 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Significant declines in breeding birds have been reported in Russia: its overall population is suspected to be decreasing rapidly, in line with levels of deforestation and the drainage of wetlands for agricultural development.

It nests on tall trees and artificial structures such as electricity pylons. It feeds on fish and small animals in open, usually fresh water, wetlands, and occasionally coastal tidal flats.

Deforestation and drainage of wetlands for agricultural development are the main causes of decline in its breeding grounds. In Russia, spring fires threaten breeding sites and kill nest trees. Reclamation of wetlands, particularly in the Yangtze basin, has reduced the area of habitat for wintering birds and caused disturbance. Overfishing is a problem at many breeding and wintering sites in China. A satellite-tracking study indicated very high juvenile mortality on passage and in winter (Van den Bossche et al. 2001). Wintering birds move large distances between sites (Van den Bossche et al. 2001). Birds are hunted and collected for zoos, in Russia and China, despite legal protection. Dams on the Amur River and the forthcoming Three Gorges Dam in China are likely to have detrimental impacts upon the species, although they may affect this species less severely than others as they feed on fish and are therefore less susceptible to changes in water levels (M. Barter in litt. 2006, S. Chan in litt. 2006).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I, CMS Appendix I. It is legally protected in Russia, Mongolia, China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea and Japan. Protected areas in its breeding and wintering grounds include Lake Bolon, Lake Khanka and Khingansky (Russia), and Sanjiang, Honghe, Zhalong, Changlindao, Yanwodao, Xingkai Hu, Horqin, Shengjin Hu, Poyang Hu (more than 1,600 birds wintering since 2002 [Ji and Wang 2007]), Dong Dongting Hu and Chen Hu (China). Reintroduction programmes are underway in South Korea and Japan. In 2008, there were said to be c.100 individuals in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, following the re-introduction of the species using chicks from Russia (Matsuda 2008). A number of conservation actions have been implemented locally to protect birds breeding near Daqing City, Heilongjiang, China (Zou et al. 2007).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain an up-to-date estimate of the total population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation. Estimate levels of illegal capture. Establish protected areas on the Sanjiang plain, China. Expand the Khanka State Reserve, Russia, to include all existing and potential nest-sites and develop and extend current captive breeding efforts. Maintain tall trees for nesting and add artificial nest poles to potential breeding sites. Control overfishing in its breeding and wintering grounds. Control human activities at nest sites between 25th March and 20th July. Campaign against the use of fire by farmers in the breeding grounds. Prevent poisoning from pesticides and poaching. Re-establish viable breeding populations in South Korea and Japan. Work to restore habitat adjacent to already-occupied habitat, rather than creating new habitat patches (see Liu et al. 2008). Compensate farmers for favourable land management in the species's breeding grounds (Wu Qingming in litt. 2012).

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

Hui-yu Liu; Zhen-shan Lin; Hong-yu Liu. 2008. Response of Oriental White Storks Ciconia boyciana to the accumulative impact of anthropogenic habitat destruction and possible Allee effect. Bird Conservation International 18(3): 292-300.

Ji Wei-Tao; Wang Yun-Bao. 2007. Number and distribution of Oriental White Stork in Poyang Lake in the winter of 2006. China Crane News 11(1): 39.

Matsuda, S. 2008. Early stage success for reintroduction of the Oriental White Stork in Toyooka. China Crane News 12(2): 36-37.

Van den Bossche, W.; Berthold, P.; Darman, Y.; Andronov, V.; Parilov, M.; Querner, U. 2001. Satellite-tracking helps to discover stopover sites of the threatened Oriental White Stork (Ciconia boyciana). Microwave Telemetry, Inc. Newsletter 2(1): 3-4.

Xinzhong, Liu. 1999. Preliminary Analysis on Wintering Waterfowl Survey in Poyang Lake. Wetlands International China Programme Publication Newsletter For Wetlands 4.

Zou Hong-Fei; Wu Qing-Ming; Zhu Jing-Li. 2007. Primary report on conserving Oriental White Stork in Lindian wetland, Heilongjiang. China Crane News 11(2): 35.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Chan, S., Crosby, M., Peet, N., Taylor, J.

Barter, M., Chan, S., Li, Z.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Ciconia boyciana. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Oriental white stork (Ciconia boyciana) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Ciconiidae (Storks)
Species name author Swinhoe, 1873
Population size 1000-2499 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 475,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species