Ciconia is a genus of birds in the stork family. The genus name is the Latin word for ‘stork’, and was originally recorded in the works of Horace and Ovid. These are large storks, typically 100 cm tall, with a 180 cm wingspan and a long thick bill.
They are gregarious and colonial breeders, and pairs stay together for life. One of these, the white stork, is probably the best known of all storks, with a wealth of legend and folklore associated with this familiar visitor to Europe and North Africa.
The migratory species like the white stork and the black stork soar on broad wings and rely on thermals of hot air for sustained long distance flight. These storks, like large raptors, must cross the Mediterranean at the narrowest points.