Stork, the common name for a family of large wading birds. There are 19 species, found in most of the warmer regions of the world. Storks are good fliers and are migratory.

Storks have long legs and slightly webbed toes. Adults range from about 30 to about 60 inches (75 to 150 cm) in length and from about 2 feet (60 cm) to more than 4 feet (120 cm) in height. They have long, stout, pointed bills and their plumage is usually black and white. In some species, the head or the head and neck are almost totally devoid of feathers.

Black storksBlack storks are large wading birds with glossy black feathers.

Storks feed primarily on such animals as fish, amphibians, reptiles, and large insects. Most storks are practically voiceless, being capable of making at best a hissing or grunting sound. Most, however, make noises by clattering their bills, especially during courtship. The nest is a large platform of sticks, usually made in trees. The female lays three to six whitish eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the young.

The stork mentioned in folklore as a symbol of good luck and depicted as carrying babies is the white stork. It was formerly common throughout Europe, but its numbers have declined due to hunting, habitat destruction, and pollution. The white stork is well known for its habit of nesting on rooftops, often returning to the same nesting site year after year. It is white with black wing feathers and a red bill. The black stork is another species found in Europe. It shuns inhabited areas. Storks of Africa include the adjutant storks. One of these, the marabou stork, is a source of feathers used for ornamentation.

The white storkThe white stork is well known for its habit of nesting on rooftops.