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An Overview of the Storks of the World

M. Philip Kahl
Colonial Waterbirds
Vol. 10, No. 2 (1987), pp. 131-134
Published by: Waterbird Society
DOI: 10.2307/1521251
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1521251
Page Count: 4
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An Overview of the Storks of the World
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Abstract

The stork family (Ciconiidae) includes 17-19 species, depending upon which classification is followed. They are widely distributed, mainly in the Old World Tropics. Being large, conspicuous, and easily observed, storks are well known birds throughout their range. Several populations are threatened or endangered. The family has three distinct subdivisions or tribes. The wood stork/openbill group contains six medium-sized members that have generalized courtship but specialized feeding behavior. The five to seven species of "typical" storks are all somewhat similar, with mainly black-and-white plumage and straight bills. The "giant" storks comprise six species with impressive stature and massive bills. This account will illustrate and briefly describe the various species, based on the author's eleven-year field study of the group on a worldwide basis.

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