views updated

Ciconiidae (storks; class Aves, order Ciconiiformes) A family of large wading birds that have stout-based bills and long necks, some with distensible throat pouches (e.g. two of the three species of Leptoptilos, found in Africa and Asia) and bare faces, heads, or necks. They have long, broad wings, and long legs with semipalmate toes. They are found in open, often wet, country, frequently breeding colonially in trees. Ciconia ciconia (white stork, one of five Ciconia species) frequently breeds on nest platforms on buildings. The three species of Ibis (wood storks), found in Asia and Africa, are usually placed in the genus Mycteria. There are six genera in the family, with 17 species, found nearly world-wide.