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Stork (Family: Ciconiidae) - Wiki
Subject: Stork (Family: Ciconiidae) - Wiki
Painted Stork, Mycteria leucocephala- Immatures at nest- Im IMG 8531.jpg
Resolution: 800x600 File Size: 455782 Bytes Date: 2006:01:04 10:09:17 Camera: Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL (Canon) F number: f/7.1 Exposure: 1/400 sec Focal Length: 300/1 Upload Date: 2007:10:23 16:31:43

Stork (Family: Ciconiidae) - Wiki

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[Photo] Painted Stork, Mycteria leucocephala. Immatures at nest at Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Date 4 January 2006. Author J.M.Garg (
Copyright (C) 2006 J. M. Garg
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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. 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 living species of storks in six genera.

Storks tend to use soaring, gliding flight, which conserves energy. Soaring requires thermal air currents. Ottomar Ansch??tz's famous 1884 album of photographs of storks inspired the design of Otto Lilienthal's experimental gliders of the late 19th century. Storks are heavy with wide wingspans, 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.

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.

Storks' size, serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to their prominence in mythology and culture.

The modern English word comes from Old English "storc", which comes from Proto Germanic *sturkaz (compare Old Norse storkr,and Old High German storh, all meaning stork). Nearly every Germanic language has a descendant of this proto-language word to indicate the stork; in some languages cognate words are used that apparently originate in a euphemism and may signify the presence of a deep-seated taboo (compare the etymology of "bear").

According to the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the Germanic root is probably related to "stark", in reference to the stiff or rigid posture of a European species, the White Stork. Rarely the word's origin is linked to Greek torgos meaning "vulture".

Old Church Slavonic struku, Slovenian ??torklja, Russian стерх (pronounced sterkh, meaning Siberian White Crane), Lithuanian dialect starkus (commonly gandras), Hungarian eszterag (rarely used; commonly g??lya), Bulgarian щъркел (roughly pronounced as shtarkel) and Albanian sterkjok are all Germanic loan-words.

The stork's folkloric role as a bringer of babies and harbinger of luck and prosperity may originate from the Netherlands and Northern Germany, where it is common in children's nursery stories.


Palaeoephippiorhynchus (fossil: Early Oligocene of Fayyum, Egypt)
Grallavis (fossil: Early Miocene of Saint-G??rand-le-Puy, France, and Djebel Zelten, Libya) - may be same as
Prociconia (fossil: Late Pleistocene of Brazil) - may belong to modern genus Jabiru or Ciconia
Pelargosteon (fossil: Early Pleistocene of Romania)
Ciconiidae gen. et sp. indet. - formerly Cygnus bilinicus (fossil: Early Miocene of B??e????any, Czechia)
cf. Leptoptilos gen. et sp. indet. - formerly L. siwalicensis (fossil: Late Miocene? - Late Pliocene of Siwalik, India)
Ciconiidae gen. et sp. indet. (fossil: Late Pleistocene of San Josecito Cavern, Mexico) - Ciconia or Mycteria (Steadman et al. 1994)
Genus Mycteria
Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea)
Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)
Painted Stork ( Mycteria leucocephala)
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)
Genus Anastomus
Asian Openbill Stork, Anastomus oscitans
African Openbill Stork, Anastomus lamelligerus
Genus Ciconia
Abdim's Stork, Ciconia abdimii
Woolly-necked Stork, Ciconia episcopus
Storm's Stork, Ciconia stormi
Maguari Stork, Ciconia maguari
Oriental White Stork, Ciconia boyciana
White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Black Stork Ciconia nigra
Genus Ephippiorhynchus
Black-necked Stork, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Saddle-billed Stork, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
Genus Jabiru
Jabiru Jabiru mycteria
Genus Leptoptilos
Lesser Adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus
Greater Adjutant, Leptoptilos dubius
Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus

Though some storks are highly threatened, no species or subspecies are known to have gone extinct in historic times. A Ciconia bone found in a rock shelter on R??union was probably of a bird taken there as food by early settlers; no known account mentions the presence of storks on the Mascarenes.

The fossil genus Ciconiopsis (Deseado Early Oligocene of Patagonia, Argentina) is usually tentatively assigned to this family. For more fossil storks, see the genus articles.

Symbolism of storks
The white stork is the symbol of The Hague in the Netherlands, where about 25 percent of European storks breed. It is also a predominant symbol of the region of Alsace in eastern France.

In Western culture the White Stork is a symbol of childbirth. In Victorian times the details of human reproduction were difficult to approach, especially in reply to a child's query of "Where did I come from?"; "The stork brought you to us" was the tactic used to avoid discussion of sex. This habit was derived from the once popular superstition that storks were the harbingers of happiness and prosperity, and possibly from the habit of some storks of nesting atop chimneys, down which the new baby could be imagined as entering the house.

The image of a stork bearing an infant wrapped in a sling held in its beak is common in popular culture. The small pink or reddish patches often found on a newborn child's eyelids, between the eyes,on the upper lip, and on the nape of the neck, which are clusters of developing veins that soon fade, are sometimes still called "stork bites".

Vlasic uses this child-bearing stork as a mascot in North America for its brand of pickles, merging the stork-baby mythology with the notion that pregnant women have an above-average appetite for pickles.

In Vietnam, the stork symbolize the strenuousness of poor Vietnamese farmers and the diligence of Vietnamese women.

Mythology of storks
Most of these myths tend to refer to the White Stork.

In Ancient Egypt the stork was associated with the human ba; they had the same phonetic value. The ba was the unique individual character of each human being: a stork with a human head was an image of the ba-soul, which unerringly migrates home each night, like the stork, to be reunited with the body during the Afterlife.
The motto "Birds of a feather flock together" is appended to Aesop's fable of the farmer and the stork his net caught among the cranes that were robbing his fields of grain. The stork vainly pleaded to be spared, being no crane.
The Hebrew word for stork was equivalent to "devotee; (literary) devout woman, God-fearing woman, religiously observant woman; righteous, pious, kind - woman ", and the care of storks for their young, in their highly visible nests, made the stork a widespread emblem of parental care. It was widely noted in ancient natural history that a stork pair will be consumed with the nest in a fire, rather than fly and abandon it.
In Greek mythology, Gerana was an Æthiope, the enemy of Hera, who changed her into a stork, a punishment Hera also inflicted on Antigone, daughter of Laomedon of Troy (Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.93). Stork-Gerana tried to abduct her child, Mopsus. This accounted, for the Greeks, for the mythic theme of the war between the pygmies and the storks. In popular Western culture, there is a common image of a stork bearing an infant wrapped in cloths held in its beak; the stork, rather than absconding with the child Mopsus, is pictured as delivering the infant, an image of childbirth.
The stork is alleged in folklore to be monogamous although in fact this monogamy is "serial monogamy", the bond lasting one season: see above. For Early Christians the stork became an emblem of a highly respected "white marriage", that is, a chaste marriage. This symbolism endured to the seventeenth century, as in Henry Peacham's emblem book Minerva Britanna (1612) (see link).
Though "Stork" is rare as an English surname, the Czech surname "??apek" means "little stork".
For the Chinese, the stork was able to snatch up a worthy man, like the flute-player Lan Ts'ai Ho, and carry him to a blissful life.
In Norse mythology, Hoenir gives to mankind the spirit gift, the ??ðr that includes will and memory and makes us human (see Rydberg link). Hoenir's epithets langif??tr "long-leg" and aurkonungr "mire-king" identify him possibly as a kind of stork. Such a Stork King figures in northern European myths and fables. However, it is possible that there is confusion here between the White Stork and the more northerly-breeding Common Crane, which superficially resembles a stork but is completely unrelated.
In Bulgarian folklore, the stork is a symbol of the coming spring (as this is the time when the birds return to nest in Bulgaria after their winter migration) and in certain regions of Bulgaria it plays a central role in the custom of Martenitsa: when the first stork is sighted it is time to take off the red-and-white Martenitsa tokens, for spring is truly come.
A series of sightings of a mysterious pterodactyl-like creature in South Texas' Rio Grande Valley in the 1970s has been attributed to an errant jabiru that become lost during a migratory flight and wound up in an unfamiliar region, or an Ephippiorhynchus stork escaped from captivity (see Big Bird).
In Estonian, stork is "toonekurg", which is derived from "toonela"(underworld in Estonian folklore) combined with "kurg"(crane). It may seem not to make sense to associate the now-common white stork with death, but at the times they were named, the now-rare black stork was probably the more common breed.
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oriental white stork
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