Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 40/1-4 | 2003 | 127-139

  Black Storks (Ciconia nigra) wintering in Northern Isreal.
Van Den Bossche, W.

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Article summary

The Bet She’an and Hula Valleys in northern Israel are a very important migration bottleneck and wintering site for Black Storks. Not only 17000 Black Storks pass on autumn passage but, also up to 1400 Black Storks wintered during the mid 1990s in the fishpond complexes of the northern Valleys. Mosts storks stayed in the eastern Bet She’an Valley. Most of the young birds that wintered in Israel were late migrants; a high proportion was marked at northern breeding grounds and tagged storks showed a high fidelity. Local wintering storks arrived earlier every autumn until they were 4 to 5 years old. By the middle of October most migrants had passed and most marked adults had arrived, while only 1 out of 11 wintering marked 1-st winter birds was present. The wintering population was composed of storks from all age groups; there were substantial yearly differences in the proportion of 1st and 2nd-winter birds. Almost no Black Storks stayed on the fishpond complexes during summer. Black Storks were mainly feeding in canals and on filled and drained ponds, where they looked for small living fish. Tilapia hybrids were the main prey. Young storks showed a preference for habitats where it was easy to catch fish. The type of fishponds, draining technique and yield had a significant effect on the number of wintering birds.

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Ciconia nigra

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