Ciconiidae - Storks
The storks (Ciconiidae) and ibises (Threskiornithidae) are long-legged wading birds, who have many cultural associations to peoples throughout the world. The Sacred Ibis was worshipped by Egyptians (associated with the scribe-god Thoth) and White Storks were welcome harbingers of spring in Europe, which perhaps lead to their association with the arrival of babies. Storks tend to be larger, standing about 3 foot tall, with long, straight bills and elaborate courtship displays. Ibises are generally smaller with down-curved bills (the spoonbills, as their name implies, are the exception).
Although there are around 50 species world-wide, none yet occur regularly in Britain, although the time when Spoonbill becomes a regular breeder may not be far away.
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