The Hungarian white stork population embarks on their journey to Africa in the days around August 20 each year. However, one of the juvenile birds has already arrived in Sudan, the Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society (MME) reports.

The migration patterns of the individual birds can be observed via tracking devices. According to, since 2012, the MME has equipped more than 44 storks with solar-powered satellite trackers.

white stork gólya

One of them, a young stork named Bátony, who was born in 2015 in Bátonyterenye, was the first to arrive in Africa this year, writes. He must have started the journey early, since the tracker showed him appearing in Sudan as early as the 12th of August, and he appears to have made the 2,000 km journey from South Syria to the African continent in just 2 days. The past journeys and current location of some of the tracked birds can be seen ON THIS MAP.

The storks always stay close to the land, and they never fly above the sea. They cross into Asia Minor via Bosphorus, where thousands of birds can be seen circling above Istanbul at this time of the year. Check it out:

On their long flight south the storks cover over 10,000 km to arrive south of the Sahara Desert. In recent years, summer droughts and high temperatures in Hungary often caused fire so the fields that feed the storks burned down, forcing the bird population to begin their journey 2-3 weeks earlier.

Luckily, this year provided ample rainfalls, so the birds have had plenty of insects to feed on. The yearly migration of the white storks began as usual, around August 20 – as far as the adults are concerned.

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Juvenile white storks have a different schedule. Their journey is preceded by a wandering period, during which they leave their nests and congregate on feeding grounds in groups sometimes as numerous as a hundred birds. These juvenile birds are always the first to begin their journey to Africa.


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