When you were young and you asked your parents where babies came from, did they give you that old faithful answer, ‘The stork brings them’? Well, these are those storks.
This is the European stork (Ciconia ciconia), and it seems the baby-delivery myth may have arisen, originally in Germany, from the fact that storks are migratory birds, leaving Europe for around 9 months over the winter before returning to breed in the springtime. The birds also breed in North Africa, which is where my photos were taken, in Morocco in June 2014.
Apparently, there is an old Berber myth that storks are actually humans who have been transformed into birds. In the Muslim religion, storks are considered sacred, which may be because they appear to prostrate themselves in prayer when resting. However, there is also a tale told in Marrakesh, of a local man, dressed in the traditional white djellaba and black robe, who got drunk on wine and climbed a local minaret, all the while blaspheming. His punishment was transformation into a stork.