Order Ciconiiformes / Storks, Herons, & Vultures

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Order Ciconiiformes

Order Ciconiiformes consists of types of birds that live near the water or are entirely aquatic. They have some very distinct features for birds in this order.

Suggested Reading: Waterfowl Birds

Ciconiiformes Pronounciation

Order Ciconiiformes Characteristics

Here are some of the interesting characteristics for birds in the order Ciconiiformes.

  • Most Ciconiiformes have long necks, long beaks, and feet without webbing. Most birds in this order are either large or medium-sized.
  • The bodies of Ciconiiformes are short and stocky, while wings are large;
  • The tail in these birds is usually short.
  • Though most birds in the order have long bills, different species have different adaptations: some have long and thin dagger-like bills, while new world vultures have bills adapted for eating meat, with serrated edges.
  • The plumage of most species in the order combines most uncomplicated colors – grey, white and black.
  • Some species, for example, herons, have ornamental plumes used during the breeding season for courtship.
  • Most species of the order are found in tropical and subtropical areas, though species such as storks and herons can be found in more temperate regions.
  • The representatives of the order (except vultures) mostly settle in wetlands, sometimes search for food near shorelines of large bodies of water.
  • Many species of Ciconiiformes form roosts on trees, to which they return every year.
  • There are both sedentary and migratory species in this order.
  • Most of the birds in the order are not particularly vocal and do not rely on sound for communication.
  • Ciconiiformes feed on fish and other aquatic animals. Some species can feed on small mammals and very rarely fruit and seeds.
  • Nests are built from sticks and are located on the trees.
  • Both parents care for the young, who are born very helpless and naked.
  • Only vultures build no nests – usually, eggs are laid in caves or under bushes.
  • 21 species of Ciconiiformes are seriously threatened. They are vulnerable due to predation, hunting, and destruction of habitat, as well as pollution.

Ciconiiformes Birds

Here are some common species from this order Ciconiiformes:

  • Great blue heron, Ardea herodias
  • Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
  • Snowy egret, Egretta thula
  • Shoebill, Balaeniceps rex
  • Jabiru, Jabiru mycteria
  • Marabou stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus
  • White Ibis, Eudocimus albus
  • Black vulture, Coragyps atratus
  • Turkey vulture, Cathartes aura
  • California condor, Gymnogyps californianus

Cite this article as: "Order Ciconiiformes / Storks, Herons, & Vultures," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, June 4, 2019, https://www.bioexplorer.net/order-ciconiiformes/.

Key References

  • [1] – “Ciconiiformes (Herons, Storks, Spoonbills, Ibis, and New World Vultures) | Encyclopedia.com”. Accessed June 04, 2019. Link.

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