Distribution Pattern, Nest-Tree Features and Breeding Performance of Population of the Black Stork, Ciconia nigra (Ciconiiformes, Ciconiidae), in Northwestern Serbia

Keywords: Black Stork, Ciconia nigra, breeding, Gornje Podunavlje, productivity, nesting success


Distribution pattern, nest-tree characteristics and reproductive features of Black Stork’s population were evaluated in the floodplains of Gornje Podunavlje in Northwestern Serbia over five consecutive years. In total, 44 different nests were discovered and monitored. Nests were mostly placed on wide-diameter European Oaks and White Poplars between 5.5 and 18 m above ground level. Annually, the number of occupied nests varied between 26 and 16 with the declining trend over study years. The mean nesting density was 9.8 ± 2 occupied nests per 100 km2. Through study area, occupied nests were uniformly distributed and very isolated concerning the conspecific pairs. Predominantly, Black Stork preferred to nest on the lateral branches of the autochthonous mature trees with straight trunks and extensive crowns. These results suggest that the existence of old native forest stands represent crucial microhabitat criteria in the choice of the particular nesting site. In almost half of successful nesting cases, the most frequent number of fledglings was three. Overall productivity was relatively low with some variations between years implying poor nesting success.


Alexandrou, O., Bakaloudis, D. E., Papakosta, M. A., Vlachos, C. G. 2016. Breeding density, spacing of nest-sites and breeding performance of black storks Ciconia nigra in Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park, north-eastern Greece. North-western Journal of Zoology, 12(1), 7-13.


Augutis, D., Sinkevičius, S. 2005. Application of Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies in identification of potential nesting habitats of black stork (Ciconia nigra). Acta Zoologica Lituanica, 15 (1), 3-12.


Bobek, M., Hampl, R., Peške, L., Pojer, F., Šimek, J., Bureš, S. 2008. African Odyssey project-satellite tracking of black storks Ciconia nigra breeding at a migratory divide. Journal of Avian Biology, 39 (5), 500-506.


Burgman, M. A., Akcakaya, H. R., Loew, S. S. 1988. The use of extinction models for species conservation. Biological Conservation, 43 (1), 9-25.


Calladine, J., Díaz, M., Reino, L., Jardine, D., Wilson, M. 2018. Plantations of Non-native Tree Species. In: Mikusiński, G., Roberge, J., Fuller, R., eds. Ecology and Conservation of Forest Birds (Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 350-386.


Campbell, B., Veríssimo, D. 2015. Black Stork Down: Military Discourse in Bird Conservation in Malta. Human Ecology, 43(1), 79-92.


Cano Alonso, L. S., Fernandez, M. 2003. The Black Stork Ciconia nigra in Madrid region: status, population changes and reproduction. Aves, 40, 38-43.

Carrete, M., Sánchez-Zapata, J. A., Tella, J. L., Gil-Sánchez, J. M., Moleón, M. 2006. Components of breeding performance in two competing species: habitat heterogeneity, individual quality and density-dependence. Oikos, 112 (3), 680-690.


Clark, P. J., Evans, F. C. 1954. Distance to nearest neighbor as a measure of spatial relationships in populations. Ecology, 35, 445-453.


Czuchnowski, R., Profus, P. 2008. Distribution, changes in numbers, and breeding biology of the Black Stork Ciconia nigra in Poland. Biota, 9, 5-14.

Erg, B. 2002. Influence of three-levelled zonation of protection of Special Nature Reserve Gornje Podunavlje for protection of Black Stork and White-tailed Eagle nests within area Kanlija Pesak. Ciconia 11, 80-85 [In Serbian].

Etterson, M. A., Ellis-Felege, S. N., Evers, D., Gauthier, G., Grzybowski, J. A., Mattsson, B. J., Nagy, L. R., Olsen, B. J., Pease, C. M., van der Burg, M. P., Potvien, A. 2011. Modelling fecundity in birds: Conceptual overview, current models, and considerations for future developments. Ecological Modelling, 222 (14), 2178-2190.


Fraissinet, M., Bordignon, L., Brunelli, M., Caldarella, M., Cripezzi, E., Giustino, S., Mallia, E., Marrese, M., Norante, N., Urso, S., Visceglia, M. 2018. Breeding population of Black Stork, Ciconia nigra, in Italy between 1994 and 2016. Rivista Italiana di Ornitologia - Research in Ornithology, 88 (1), 15-22.


Hampl, R., Bureš, S., Baláž, P., Bobek, M., Pojer, F. 2005. Food provisioning and nestling diet of the black stork in the Czech Republic. Waterbirds, 28 (1), 35-40.


IBM Corporation, 2015. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 23.0. Armonk, NY, USA.

Kalocsa, B., Tamás, E. A. 2002. Survey of the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) population in the Gemenc forest. Nesting habits and breeding efficiency (1992-2000). Aquila, 107-108, 215-223 [In Hungarian].

Kalocsa, B., Tamás, E. A. 2006. An analysis of nesting data of Black Storks Ciconia nigra in the Gemenc region of the Danube-Drava National Park (1992-2003). Biota, 7(1-2), 47-50.

Kalocsa, B., Tamás, E. A. 2018. The Hazards of Overhead Electric Lines on Black Storks. In: Cano Alonso, L. S., Sundar, K. S. G. eds. VII International Conference on Black Stork Ciconia nigra: Programme and abstracts book. IUCN-SSC Stork, Ibis and Spoonbill Specialist Group Special Publication 1. Seville Spain and Mysuru India, 21.

Kleewein, D. 1999. Population size, density, spatial distribution and dispersal in an Austrian population of the Land Snail Arianta arbustorum styriaca (Gastropoda: Helicidae). Journal of Moluscan Studies, 65, 303-315.


Konovalov, A., Nellis, R., Nurmla, A., Sellis, U., Väli, Ü. 2019. Solitude at periphery: lack of partners limits reproduction of the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) at the margin of the distribution range. Ornis Fennica, 96, 13-23.

Krebs, C. J. 2014. Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance. Sixth edition. Pearson Education Limited, Essex, UK, 1-646.

Lõhmus, A., Sellis, U. 2003. Nest trees - a limiting factor for the Black Stork Ciconia nigra populations in Estonia. Aves, 40 (1-4), 84-91.

Lõhmus, A., Sellis, U., Rosenvald, R. 2005. Have recent changes in forest structure reduced the Estonian black stork Ciconia nigra population? Biodiversity and Conservation, 14 (6), 1421-1432.


MacArthur, R. H., Wilson, E. O. 2001. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Second edition. Princeton University Press, Princeton, US, 1-203.

Marčetić, M. 1957. Black Stork, Ciconia nigra, in Vojvodina. Larus, 9/10, 172-175.

Moreno-Opo, R., Fernández-Olalla, M., Guil, F., Arredondo, A., Higuero, R., Martín, M., Soria, C., Guzmán, J. 2011. The role of ponds as feeding habitat for an umbrella species: best management practices for the black stork Ciconia nigra in Spain. Oryx, 45 (3): 448-455.


Newton, I. 1998. Population limitation in birds. Academic Press, London, UK, 1-597.


Newton, I. 2004. The recent declines of farmland bird populations in Britain: an appraisal of causal factors and conservation actions. Ibis, 146: 579-600.


Pojer, F. 2003. Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) in the Czech Republic: Present Status and Conservation. Aves, 40(1-4), 20-24.

Popović, J. 1960. Refuge of White-tailed Eagle (Haliaetus albicilla L.) and Black Stork (Ciconia nigra L.) in surrounding of Bački Monoštor village. Zaštita prirode, 18/19, 88-91 [In Serbian].

Puzović, S., Sekulić, V., Pavlović, D. 1988/89. Black Stork (Ciconia nigra L.) at the Obedska bara 1983-1987. Bulletin of Natural History Museum B, 43-44, 161-174 [In Serbian].

Puzović, S., Grubač, B. 2000. Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In: Heath, M. F., Evans, M. I. eds. Important Bird Areas in Europe: Priority sites for conservation. Second part (Southern Europe). BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK, 725-745.

QGIS Development Team, 2016. QGIS Geographic Information System. Open Source Geospatial Foundation Project. http://qgis.osgeo.org

Roberge, J-M., Angelstam, P. 2004. Usefulness of the Umbrella Species Concept as a Conservation Tool. Conservation Biology, 18 (1), 76-85.


Saino, N., Szép, T., Romano, M., Rubolini, D., Spina, F., Møller, A.P. 2004. Ecological conditions during winter predict arrival date at the breeding quarters in a trans-Saharan migratory bird. Ecology Letters, 7, 21-25.


Sackl, P. 2000. Form and function of aerial courtship displays in Black Storks Ciconia nigra. Acrocephalus, 21 (102-103), 223-229.

Sackl, P., Strazds, M. 1997. Ciconia nigra Black Stork. In: Hagemeijer, E. J. M., Blair, M. J. eds. The EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds: Their Distribution and Abundance. T & A D Poyser, London, UK, 56-57.

Schneider-Jacoby, M. 1999. Values of the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park and the Sava Wetlands. Bilten parka prirode Lonjsko Polje, 1, 21-27.

Sellis, U. 2000. Will the Black Stork remain to breed in Estonia? Hirundo, 13 (1), 19-30 [In Estonian].

Siriwardena, G. M., Baillie, S. R., Crick, H. Q. P., Wilson, J. D. 2000. The importance of variation in the breeding performance of seed-eating birds in determining their population trends on farmland. Journal of Applied Ecology, 37 (1), 128-148.


Sokal, R. R., Rohlf, F. J. 1995. Biometry: The Principles and Practices of Statistics in Biological Research. Third Edition. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, USA, 1-850.

Steenhof, K., Kochert, M. N., McIntyre, C. L., Brown, J. L. 2017. Coming to terms about describing Golden Eagle reproduction. Journal of Raptor Research, 51 (3), 378-390.


Stojanović, V. 2018. Geography of natural features (physical and geographical characteristics). In: Zagorac, D. ed. Bačko Podunavlje Biosphere Reserve - nature with people. Provincial Secretariat for Urban Planning and Environmental Protection and Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province, Birograf, Zemun, 22-27.

Stojanović, V., Velojić, M., Šakić, R. 2014. Sustainable tourism development strategy in the ʺGornje Podunavljeʺ Special Nature Reserve. Public Enterprise ʺVojvodinašumeʺ, Forestry ʺSomborʺ, Sombor, Serbia, 1-31 [In Serbian].

Strazds, M. 2011. Conservation Ecology of the Black Stork in Latvia. PhD thesis, Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia, Riga, 1-96.

Tamás, E. A. 2012. Breeding and migration of the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), with special regard to a Central European population and the impact of hydro-meteorogical factors and wetland status. PhD thesis, Juhás-Nagy Pál Doctoral School, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, 1-146.

Tamás, E. A., Kalocsa, B. 2006. The diet of young and feeding places of adult's Black Storks Ciconia nigra in Gemenc. Biota, 7(1-2), 103-107.

Treinys, R., Lõhmus, A., Stončius, D., Skuja, S., Drobelis, E., Šablevičius, B., Rumbutis, S., Dementavičius, D., Naruševičius, V., Petraška, A., Augutis, D. 2008. At the border of ecological change: status and nest sites of the Lithuanian Black Stork Ciconia nigra population 2000-2006 versus 1976-1992. Journal of Ornithology, 149, 75-81.


Treinys, R., Stončius, D., Augutis, D., Skuja, S. 2009. Breeding habitat of the Black Stork Ciconia nigra in Lithuania: implications for conservation planning. Baltic Forestry, 15 (1), 33-40.

Tucakov, M., Kalocsa, B., Mikuska, T., Tamás, E.A., Žuljević, A., Erg, B., Deme, T. 2006. The Black Stork Ciconia nigra between the Sió channel and the Drava river in the central Danube floodplain: transboundary monitoring and protection plan. Biota, 7(1-2), 109-118.

Väli, Ü. 2015. Monitoring of spotted eagles in Estonia in 1994-2014: Stability of the lesser spotted eagle (Aquila pomarina) and decline of the greater spotted eagle (A. clanga). Slovak Raptor Journal, 9, 55-64.


Velevski, M., Grubač, B., Hallmann, B. 2008. Distribution and estimation of the population size of the Black Stork Ciconia nigra in Macedonia. Ciconia, 17, 14-19.

Vlachos, C. G., Bakaloudis, D. E., Alexandrou, O. G., Bontzorlos, V. A., Papakosta, M. A. 2008. Factors affecting the nest-site selection of the black stork, Ciconia nigra in the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli National Park, north-eastern Greece. Folia Zoologica, 57 (3), 251-257.

USDA FOREST SERVICE 2006. Forest inventory and analysis national core field guide, Vol. 1: Field data collection procedures for phase 2 plots. National Core Field Guide. Version 3.1. USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA), Washington, DC, 2-294.

Witmer, G. W. 2005. Wildlife population monitoring: some practical considerations. Wildlife Research, 32 (3), 259-263.


How to Cite
Rajković, D. (2021). Distribution Pattern, Nest-Tree Features and Breeding Performance of Population of the Black Stork, Ciconia nigra (Ciconiiformes, Ciconiidae), in Northwestern Serbia. Zoodiversity, 55(2), 175–184. https://doi.org/10.15407/zoo2021.02.175