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Storks

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills, belonging to the family Ciconiidae. They occur in most of the warmer 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. Leggy Birds: Storks are graceful, lanky birds with long, slender legs. These leggy birds are able to take large strides through deep water and tall grass to find food. Their long necks enable them to lean down to nab the prey by their feet. Why Flap? In flight, they are also a sight to behold. Rather than continuously flapping their wings, they fly by soaring on warm air currents. Their long wings only flap occasionally. Because storks fly with their necks outstretched, dangling their legs behind their bodies, they are easy to recognize as they fly above. Vultures or Storks? Some species of stork scavenge for food that is already dead. These birds have bald patches on their heads to prevent their feathers from getting covered in mud or blood. These bald spots also enable the birds to communicate to one another! During the breeding season, their patches of featherless skin become brightly colored. Just the Facts: 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. There are 19 species of storks in six genera. Winging It: Storks tend to use soaring, gliding flight, which conserves energy. Soaring requires thermal air currents. Ottomar Anschütz's famous 1884 albumen photographs of storks inspired the design of Otto Lilienthal's experimental gliders of the late 19th century. Storks are heavy with wide Stork nest on power mast: Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0wingspans, and the Marabou Stork, with a wingspan of 3.2 m (10.5 feet), shares the distinction of "longest wingspan of any land bird" with the Andean Condor. Home-birdies: Their nests are often very large and may be used for many years. Some have been known to grow to over 2 m (6 feet) in diameter and about 3 m (10 feet) in depth. Storks were once thought to be monogamous, but this is only true to a limited extent. They may change mates after migrations, and migrate without them. They tend to be attached to nests as much as partners. Famous Bird: Storks' size, serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to their prominence in mythology and culture. The White Stork Just the Facts: The White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It is a widespread but declining species which breeds in the warmer parts of Europe but recent sightings and signs of increasing have been found in Britain. It is a strong migrant, wintering in tropical Africa. Land Love-birds: This is a broad winged soaring bird, which relies on moving between thermals of hot air for sustained long distance flight. Since thermals only form over land, storks, together with large raptors, must cross the Mediterranean at the narrowest points, and many hundreds can be seen going through the straits of Gibraltar and the Bosphorus. Huge Bird: The White Stork is a huge bird, 1 m tall with a 2 m wingspan. It is completely white except for the black wing flight feathers and its red bill and legs. It walks slowly and steadily on the ground. Like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched. Good Luck Charms: These storks breed in open farmland areas with access to marshy wetlands. It builds a stick nest in trees, on buildings, or special platforms. Because it is viewed as bird of good luck, it is not persecuted, and it often nests close to human habitation. In southern Europe, storks' nests can often be seen on churches and other buildings. It often forms small colonies. Storks in Danger: The decline in the north of its range may be due to the drainage of wetlands and collisions with overhead power lines. The White Stork is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. Storks in Eastern Europe: A quarter of the world population of White Stork breeds in Poland. Approximately 13,000 White Stork pairs bred in Lithuania, the fifth largest population and highest known density of this species in the world. But in Latvia lives around 12,000 White Stork pairs. Food For the Birds: The White Stork, like most of its relatives, feeds mainly on frogs and large insects, but also young birds, lizards and rodents. Mute, But Not Silent: This stork is almost silent except for the noisy mutual bill-clattering when adults meet at the nest.

Storks
Storks








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