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Markus Lagerqvist | profile | all galleries >> Birds of the World >> Non Passerines >> Storks tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

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Storks

The Storks (Ciconiidae) are 19 species of large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills.

They occur in many regions of the world and tend to live in drier habitats than the related herons, spoonbills, and ibises; they also lack the powder down that those groups use to clean off fish slime. Storks have no syrinx and are mute, giving no bird call; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Many species are migratory. Most storks eat frogs, fish, insects, earthworms, and small birds or mammals.

Storks tend to use soaring, gliding flight, which conserves energy but requires thermal air currents. Storks are heavy, with wide wingspans: the Marabou Stork, with a wingspan of 3.2 m joins the Andean Condor in having the widest wingspan of all living land birds.

Their nests are often very large and may be used for many years. Some have been known to grow to over 2 m in diameter and about 3 m in depth. Storks were once thought to be monogamous, but this is only partially true. They may change mates after migrations, and may migrate without a mate. They tend to be attached to nests as much as partners.

Storks' size, serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to their prominence in mythology and culture.
Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)
Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)
Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)
Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)
Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)
Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)
African Openbill (Anastomus lamelligerus)
African Openbill (Anastomus lamelligerus)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
White Storks (Ciconia ciconia) and one Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)
White Storks (Ciconia ciconia) and one Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)
Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
Maguari Stork (Ciconia maguari)
Maguari Stork (Ciconia maguari)
Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)
Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)
Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria)
Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria)
White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) and Marabou Stork (Leptotilos crumeniferus)
White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) and Marabou Stork (Leptotilos crumeniferus)