The White Stork is a large bird. It has a length from the tip of its beak to the tip of its tail of 100–115 cm (39–45 in), a wingspan of 195–215 cm (77–85 in), and a weight of 2.3–4.4 kg (5.1–9.7 lb). Like all storks, it has long legs, a long neck, and a long straight pointed beak. Its plumage is mainly white with some black in the wings; the primaries, secondaries, primary coverts, greater upperwing coverts, scapulars, and alula are black. The breast feathers are long and shaggy forming a ruff which is used in some courtship displays. The irises are dull brown or grey, and the peri-orbital skin is black. The adult has a bright red beak and red legs. The sexes are identical in appearance, except that males are larger than females on average. As with other storks, the wings of the White Stork are long and broad, allowing the bird to soar. In flapping flight its wingbeats are slow and regular. It flies with its neck outstretched forward and with its long legs outstretched beyond the end of its short tail. It walks at a slow and steady pace with its neck outstretched and vertical. In contrast, it often tucks its head between its shoulders when resting. Moulting has not been extensively studied, but appears to takes place over the course of the year, with the primary flight feathers replaced over the breeding season.
The White Stork's preferred feeding grounds are grassy meadows, farmland and shallow wetlands. It avoids areas overgrown with tall grass and shrub.