The white stork (lat. Ciconia ciconia ciconia) is a long-distance migratory bird. It lives near human settlements, in areas with wetlands, flooded rice fields, meadows, and extensive farmlands. It avoids cold and wet areas with low temperatures, as well as areas with dense vegetation. The white stork feeds mainly on insects, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals, as well as on eggs or bird chicks.
The presence of the white stork in Greece has been witnessed since antiquity. As a matter of fact, the scientific name of the species Ciconia is the translational equivalent of the Greek word πελαργός (=stork) denoting the ancient Thracian tribe of Cicones. This Homeric tribe was believed to inhabit the south coast of Thrace extending from the delta of river Evros to Lake Vistonida. The same area used to be the habitat of white storks which were highly respected by Cicones.
Today, the white stork is a species that is threatened by extinction mainly due to the degradation of its habitat and environmental conditions. Moreover, electrocution and collision with power lines are also referred to as major causes of white stork mortality.