The stork is a bird that belongs to the biological order Ciconiiformes . Several species are widely distributed all over the globe, with the exception of the North and South poles. Generally, the Stork is a very large bird. Its height varies from 60 to over 150 cms and its wingspan can extend to more than eight feet . It has a long beak that it uses to catch fish , clatter for communication purposes, and defend itself. The stork lives mainly in areas near lakes and rivers but can also be found in savannas and grasslands. Its diet consists of fish, reptiles , insects , amphibians and small mammals. The best known species, the white stork, live in areas inhabited by humans and typically nests atop roofs and on trellises. This species can be found in North Africa and in Central- Asia and Europe. Its body, including its head and long neck, is covered with white plumage. The tips of its wings and tail, however, are comprised of black feathers. The white stork’s wingspan is about a meter and a half, while its red-orange beak measures around 18 centimeters. Storks are migratory birds. With the onset of winter, many storks gather in flocks and migrate to Africa, south of the Sahara. Storks mate in the spring, after returning home.
Males are the first to return. Their task is to either occupy an existing nest or build a new one. When the female storks arrive soon after, courtship begins. This consists of rapid bill-clattering and synchronized movements of the head, neck and wings. Storks are monogamous animals. After mating, females lay three to six eggs, which are then incubated by both parents for roughly a month. Baby storks reach full maturation after only 60 days. The average lifespan of a stork is twenty-five years. According to European folklore, human babies are delivered by storks. The stork is the national bird of Lithuania, because it is believed they bring harmony and good luck wherever they nest.