Homepage article February 2008
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana

Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana, Photo © Dr. Robin Newlin

Endangered and with a world population presently estimated at only 3000 (Wetlands International, 2006), the Oriental Stork was historically a fairly widespread species in South Korea and East Asia, declining throughout its range because of e.g. persecution, loss of habitat and the effects of agricultural chemicals. The species last bred in the wild in South Korea in 1971 (BirdLife International online Asian Red Data Book, Threatened Birds of Asia) and now occurs here only as a very scarce winter visitor, with probably between 20 and 50 individuals each year, mostly found in streams and pools in extensive rice-field areas along the west coast. An Oriental Stork research facility has been established in South Korea, and discussions have long been underway between the facility and farming communities in selected areas, with the long-term aim of restoring the species to the nation’s breeding avifauna.