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stork, common name for members of a family of long-legged wading birds. The storks are related to the herons and ibises and are found in most of the warmer parts of the world. Storks have long, broad, powerful wings; in flight they flap their wings or soar with their legs dangling and their long necks bent back in an S shape. They feed on fish, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, and insects, which they catch with quick thrusts of their long, heavy bills. Having no syrinx muscles, storks are mute—though they produce a clattering noise by snapping their bills. The only storks found in the Americas are the American wood stork, Mycteria americana, previously known as the wood ibis, a white bird about 4 ft (122 cm) long with a glossy greenish-black tail, found in temperate and tropical regions; the jabiru, Jabiru mycteria, of the tropics, with a white-and-black body and naked black head; and the maguari stork, Ciconia maguari, of South America, with a white body, white-and-black wings, red legs, and red around the eyes and on the bill tip. In Europe the white stork, C. ciconia, c.40 in./100 cm long, with red bill and legs, is regarded as a good omen, particularly of fertility, and is encouraged to build its platform nest on housetops. It is common from Holland to the Balkans. The black stork of Eurasia, C. nigra, is smaller and wilder. Largest of the family are the saddle-billed stork of Africa and the adjutant storks of S Asia and tropical Africa, so named (despite their untidy head feathers) for their upright military bearing. One Indian species, called also marabou, has soft tail feathers used in millinery and once popular for making feather boas. Adjutant storks are valued and protected as scavengers. Storks are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Ciconiiformes, family Ciconiidae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Jabiru mycleria), a bird of the family Ciconiidae, order Ciconiiformes. The jabiru measures approximately 1.5 m in length; the legs, neck, and beak are long. The plumage is black and white. The jabiru is found from Mexico to Argentina. It lives in wet, swampy places and builds large nests, usually in tall palm trees. The bird feeds on fish, amphibians, and mollusks.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a large white tropical American stork, Jabiru mycteria, with a dark naked head and a dark bill
2. a large Australian stork, Xenorhyncus asiaticus, having a white plumage, dark green back and tail, and red legs
3. another name for saddlebill
4. another name for wood ibis
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005