Birds of the World

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  Great Blue Heron
 
 
 

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Totipalmate Swm

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Ciconiiformes - Waders
 
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Ciconiiformes
Families: Herons and Bitterns, Hammerkop, Ibises and Spoonbills, Storks, Shoebill
 
Species:   
Lava Heron, Striated Heron, Scarlet Ibis, Black-faced Ibis
 
Images:   
Great Egret, Pied Heron, Grey Heron, Great Bittern, herons (woodcut), Hamerkop,
Sacred Ibis
, Australian White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, White Stork,
Marabou
, Maguari Stork, Black-necked Stork, Shoebill
 
  Order Ciconiiformes - Wading Birds
Wiki    ToL     EoL
EXAMPLE
     Ciconiiform birds are long-legged, long-necked birds. Herons are usually dependent on water for feeding and are found in wet habitats in temperate and tropical regions of the world and on many islands. Ibises occur primarily in freshwater and estuarine habitats. Ciconiiforms are generally referred to as "waders" in the US but in Britain waders are known as shorebirds... Sibley and Monroe (1990) list 120 species placed in 42 genera. Dickinson (2003) lists 117 species in 41 genera, and Clements (2007) also lists 117 species (some different).
Ciconiiforms are medium to large birds with long legs; most have long necks and slender bodies. Their four toes are unwebbed. Their bills are long, straight, and sharp. The maxillary tomium often has a subterminal "tooth" and is serrate near the tip. Their nares are basal. Their tongue is rudimentary.  Most have an aftershaft. The number of primaries vary from 10-12 (11 in most) and secondaries number 12-26. There are 10-14 tail feathers. They have 16-20 cervical vertebrae.
   Their food is mainly aquatic animals (fish, amphibians and insects); some take reptiles, small mammals, birds, mollusks, and crustaceans. They seize prey in their bill (sometimes impaling it). They may regurgitate pellets of undigested remains. They use a variety of foraging techniques - they may stand-and-wait, they may walk slowly in shallow water; they may use foot stirring or trampling to flush prey; they may run about in shallow water pursuing prey; they may swim in deeper water and surface dive; they may hover and plunge-dive; or they may dive from a perch. Cattle Egrets feed on insects disturbed to grazing animals. Most herons are diurnal; night-herons, however, feed at dusk and at night (or on cloudy days). Some defend feeding territories. In the evening, herons may fly long distances to spend the night in a communal roost.
Most herons nest in colonies, often with other species - a few, including the bitterns, are solitary. They usually build platforms of sticks in trees or piles of vegetation in reeds or on the ground. The male gathers the material and the female does the building. They generally lay 2-7 eggs. Their eggs are white, greenish, or pale blue. Young remain in the nest after hatching ("semialtricial") and are cared for by both of their parents.

   The classification of Sibley and Ahlquist (1990) includes herons with a much larger assemblage of non-passerine birds. They include the Suborder Charadrii (sandgrouse, sandpipers and their relatives, jacanas, oystercatchers and stilts, lapwings, jaegers, skimmers, gulls and terns and auks); and the Suborder Ciconii (accipiters, hawks and eagles, falcons, grebes, tropicbirds, gannets and boobies, anhingas, cormorants, herons, flamingos, ibises, pelicans, New World vultures and storks, frigatebirds, penguins, loons, and tube-nosed swimmers ). The Parvorder Ciconiida includes the herons, hammerkop, flamingos, ibises and spoonbills, shoebills (and related pelicans) and storks (with related New World Vultures) plus the Procellariiformes (tube-nosed swimmers). This classification includes a wide variety of forms with an attempt to discern appropriate phylogenetic relations. This classification is largely followed by The Encyclopedia of Life.
   Currently, the AOU Checklist (2012), includes only the Storks (Family Ciconiidae) in this order. The Families Ardeidae and Threskiornithidae are placed with pelicans in the Pelecaniformes. Other traditional pelican relatives are moved to a new order, the Order Suliformes (with a separate order for the tropicbirds).
   Clements (2007) retains the vultures with other raptores. Dickinson (2003) does not group families into orders but retains the vultures with the raptors (Falconiformes). The AOU (2012) leaves storks in the Ciconiiformes and places vultures and buteos in the Order Accipitriformes. Falcons remain within the Falconiformes.
   The precise placement of vultures remains unclear - some suggest placing them in the Order Cathartiformes. The South American Classification Committee has placed them in incertae sedis. The AOU places them in the Accipitriformes with buteos and hawks.
   Whatever the eventual fate of ciconiids, it appears that there is a core of taxa including storks, ibises, and herons/bitterns that form a related assemblage. Removal of the shoebill and hamerkop (to Pelecaniformes) further clarifies the central taxa of this group. I like Dickinson's (2003) placement of grebes and flamingoes between the tube-nosed swimmers and the ciconiids.

   Storks, ibises, flamingos, pelicans, herons, boobies, cormorants, and anhingas all have desmognathous palates, diastaxic wings, small caeca and tracheo-bronchial syringes. These characters are shared with other groups and do little to help define this group. Further refinements will depend on critical genetic studies.
   Specific characteristics are given with the family descriptions that follow.
 
  Great Egret
Great Egret, Ardea alba
City Botanic Gardens. Brisbain. AU
                                SI Web

Tricolored Heron, Egretta tricolor
and Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
Jenkins Point, Seabrook Island
SI Web

Herons
 
Blackcrowned Night-Heron
White Ibis Wood Stork
  White Ibis, Eudocimus albus                    SI Web Wood Stork, Mycteria americana           SI Web
 
Black-crowned Night-Heron,
Nycticorax nyucticorax.
SI Web
Jenkins Point, Seabrook Island.
 
   
Roseate Sp;oonbill




  Roseate   Spoonbill,

  Platale ajaja
  Seabrook
   Island
                SI Web

 
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
 





   
     
  Banner - Great Blue Heron (and some gulls). North Beach.