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As the famous bearer of newborn babies to expecting parents, the White stork is a widely beloved symbol of good luck.

Instantly recognisable, with its black-tipped white feathers and long red beak and legs, it is a familiar sight across Europe where it commonly lives close to humans, perched high upon trees, poles or village rooftops. After painstakingly constructing huge nests with gathered sticks, migrating pairs often return to the same nest year after year.

Wingspan: 155-165 cm
Top speed: 110 km/h
Threats: Shooting, Powerlines


A flight for survival

White storks migrate in spectacular flocks numbering thousands. With their huge wings, they soar upon rising warm air currents to altitudes of 1500 m and then simply glide over huge distances. Since these warm currents do not form over water, storks travelling between Europe and Africa avoid the Mediterranean Sea, diverting via the Bosporus in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west.

Yet there are other dangers. Migrating flocks, weak and exhausted by their epic journey, are particularly vulnerable to collision with overhead powerlines and the threat of illegal shooting along their migration routes.

Storks taking the eastern route across the African-Eurasian flyway risk a highly dangerous crossing over Lake Qaraoun – an illegal shooting blackspot in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley. At the height of migration season, hundreds of thousands of storks soar over Lebanese skies within a few short days. Every year, many thousands make it no further.

Help us

Our partner SPNL works tirelessly to end the illegal killing of birds in Lebanon. For years, they have fought for stronger law enforcement against acts of wildlife crime in the country. Recently, they have found a very important supporter – Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has announced a ‘Peace Treaty’ to protect migratory birds in Lebanon. But for some threatened bird species, change cannot come fast enough. SPNL urgently needs your help to scale up its highly promising community engagement program and to continue the vital work of its anti-poaching unit, which makes daily field visits to illegal killing blackspots during the migratory season.

BirdLife International Partner, SPNL, is the leading environmental NGO for the protection of wild birds and their habitats in Lebanon. Help us to help them stop the killing here and along the flyways.

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL)


You can save the White stork and protect threatened migratory birds along the African-Eurasian flyway with a donation to BirdLife International’s Flight for Survival campaign