The storks are large,
long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills. They
occur in most of the warmer regions of the world. They tend to
live in drier habitats than their relatives the herons, spoonbills
and ibises, and lack the powder down that those groups use to
clean off fish slime. Storks lack a pharynx and are mute; bill-clattering
is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Many
species are migratory. Storks eat frogs, fish, insects, worms
and small birds or mammals. Storks are heavy birds with wide wingspans.
The Marabou Stork, with a 3.2 m (10.5 ft) wingspan shares the
distinction of "longest wingspan of any landbird" with
the Andean Condor.
They tend to
use soaring, gliding flight, which conserves their expenditure
of energy. Soaring requires thermal air currents. Ottomar Anschütz's
famous 1884 albumen photographs of storks inspired the design
and engineering of aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal's experimental
gliders of the late 19th century. Wintering
storks of some migratory species tend to congregate en masse if
there is a swarm of insects or other abundant prey to feed upon.
Their nests are often very large, some having been known to grow
to over 2m (6 feet) diameter and about 3m (10 feet) in depth.
A stork's nest may be utilized for many years.
001-002.jpg courtesty: Fun Group Inc.
003-006.jpg courtesty: Us Fish & Wildlife Service