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Record number of stork pairs in Belgium: 'Promise for the future' |  science and planet

Record number of stork pairs in Belgium: ‘Promise for the future’ | science and planet

The population of the stork is doing well in our country. With 196 pairs counted, bird species are making a huge leap compared to 2020, when 141 breeding pairs were recorded. According to Wouter Faveyts and Koen Steenhoudt of the Stork Observation Initiative, this upward trend will continue in the coming years.

80 percent of stork pairs can be found in Flanders. The main “hotspots” stand out, namely the areas around the Zwin Nature Reserve in Knokke-Heist and the Planckendael Zoo in Muizen (Mechelen). In Wallonia we see the animal mainly near the Berry Daisa Zoo in Hainaut.

The stork died in Belgium at the end of the 19th century, but in the second half of the last century the animal was released in the above places. At first, the population grew slowly, but that has changed over the past 20 years.

Moderate breeding success this year. At least 234 young adults were enrolled. It was calculated on a total of 163 nests examined, both successful and unsuccessful, and the young emerging per nest was 1.1. This number is lower than in previous years, a trend also seen in the Netherlands. Storks may not be able to gather enough food in heavily-used rural areas, making it difficult to feed the chicks.

However, moderate breeding success has not yet affected population numbers. There appears to be little mortality among the species, so the population continues to increase, despite the reproduction which is rather on the low side.

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