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Wading Birds and New World Vultures: Ciconiiformes

Conservation Status

More than one-fifth of the wading birds and New World vultures are listed as Threatened or Endangered. Many of their problems come from loss of habitat. As the Earth's population grows, people take more and more of the wetlands where the wading birds once lived. They turn the wetlands into farms and cities. Wading birds also suffer greatly from polluted water, and in some parts of the world, they are still shot for food.

Many people, however, are doing what they can to help the birds. The last of the California condors were taken from the wild and bred in captivity—now they are gradually being released into the wild again. Although many birds are still in serious trouble, pollution and hunting laws now protect some of the threatened wading birds. Governments and conservation groups are also working to set aside protected areas for wading birds and New World vultures in many parts of the world.



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Hancock, J.A., J.A. Kushlan, and M.P. Kahl. Storks, Ibises and Spoonbills of the World. London: Academic Press, 1992.

Hancock, James, and Hugh Elliott. The Herons of the World. New York: Harper & Row, 1978.

Houston, David. Condors and Vultures. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 2002.

Perrins, Christopher, ed. Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2003.


Berger, Joseph. "In City Bustle, Herons, Egrets and Ibises Find a Sanctuary." The New York Times (Dec. 4, 2003): B1.

Montgomery, Sy. "Heavenly Scavengers: Turkey Vultures." Animals (March 2000): 26.

Regis, Necee. "The Shy Beauty of the Everglades." Boston Globe (February 16, 2003): M1.

Williams, Ted. "Lessons from Lake Apopka: Fish-Eating Birds Dying from Pesticide Poisoning in Florida." Audubon (July 1999): 64.

Web sites:

American Ornithologists' Union. http://www.aou.org (accessed on March 30, 2004).

Bird Life International. http://www.birdlife.net (accessed on March 30, 2004).

Birdnet. "Avian Orders: Ciconiiformes." Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET/splists/Ciconiiformescl.html#Ciconiidae (accessed March 31, 2004).

Cornell Lab of Ornithology. http://www.birds.cornell.edu (accessed on March 30, 2004).

Georgia Museum of Natural History. http://naturalhistory.uga.edu (accessed on March 30, 2004).

Georgia Wildlife Web Site. "Order; Ciconiiformes." The Georgia Museum of Natural History. http://museum.nhm.uga.edu/gawildlife/birds/ciconiiformes/ciconiiformes.html (accessed March 30, 2004).

Ornithology Laboratory. "Order Ciconiiformes, Herons and Allies." University of Illinois. http://cm27personal.fal.buffalo.edu/birds/bow/bow_1/ciconiiformes.html (accessed March 20, 2004).

Wetlands International. http://www.wetlands.org (accessed March 30, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsWading Birds and New World Vultures: Ciconiiformes - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Wading Birds, New World Vultures, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE