Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 10/2 | 1973 | 122-151

  Population dynamics of White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) in Western and Central Europe.
Tricot, J.

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The purpose of this paper on breeding populations of White Stork is to point out fluctuation trends in countries from which detailed data ara available. Among others, comparative numbers obtained from Sweden, Switzeland, France, Netherlands, Denmark, German Federal Republic, German Demcratic Republic and Austria for 1934, 1950, 1958 and 1965 are summarized. Till now, a comprehensive census of White Stork in the whole european range of its breeding area has only been performed in 1958. Numbers of pairs (or nests for bracketed data) recorded in the different countries are as follows : Switzerland : 1, France : (145), Netherlands : 57, Danemark : 189, German Federal Republic : (2500), German Democratic Republic : 2034, Austria : 278, Portugal : 3500, Spain : 14000, Poland : 10000, USSR : 27500, Baltic provinces : 15300, Czechoslovakia : 2400, Hungary : 7500, Romania : 7000, Yugoslavia : 50000, Albania : 1000, Bulgaria : 2500, Greece : 9200, European Turkey : 1000. So the whole population of White Storks breeding in Europe amounts to a total of about 111000 pairs. During the last decennaries, White Storks belonging to the western border populations of the european breeding area have suffered severe decreases, while populations of central and eastern Europe were more stable or even increased in numbers. A general decrease (50 to 90 %) occured everywhere in Europe from 1900 to 1930, followed from 1930 to 1940 by a period of relative stability or even slight increase of populations. A second decrease period was observed in Europe until 1950. Then, at least until 1965, White Stork populations of central and eastern Europe have maintained or increased their numbers, while from 1960, populations of the western range of the european breeding area were vanishing. White Storks migrate to Africa through two main routes. Birds breeding West of 12° East longitude migrate through the Straits of Gibraltar and winter in Senegal and Cameroon. Birds breeding East of 12° East longitude migrate through the Bosphorus and winter in East Africa. Increasing differences in safety conditions between african wintering areas could be a major cause for recent opposite trends in dynamics of these two White Stork groups. Anaother debatable hypothesis to explain the dramatic decrease of White Stork in western Europe would be a general shift of populations to the East due to unknown causes.