Saddle-billed Stork, Kruger National Park.

The Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) is a large wading bird in the stork family.

It is a widespread species which is a resident breeder in sub-Saharan Africa.

This is a huge bird that regularly attains a height of 150 cm (59 in), a length of 142 cm (56 in) and a 2.4–2.7 m (7.9–8.9 ft.) wingspan. The male is larger and heavier than the female, with a range of 5.1–7.5 kg (11–17 lb.). The female is usually between 5 and 7 kg (11 and 15 lb.). It is probably the tallest of the storks (though not the heaviest), due to it extremely long legs (tarsus length is up to 36.5 cm (14.4 in)). The long bill measures from 27.3 to 36 cm (10.7 to 14 in). The sexes can be readily distinguished by the golden yellow irises of the female and the brown irises and dangling yellow wattles of the male.

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The Saddle-billed Stork breeds in forested water lands and other flood lands in tropical lowland. It builds a large, deep stick nest in a tree, laying one or two white eggs weighing about 146g each. It does not form breeding colonies, and is usually found alone or in pairs. The incubation period is 30–35 days, with another 70 – 100 days before the chicks fledge.

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The Saddle-billed Stork, like most of its relatives, feeds mainly on fish, frogs and crabs, but also on small birds and reptiles . They move in a deliberate and stately manner as they hunt, in a similar way to the larger herons.

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32 thoughts on “Saddle-billed Stork, Kruger National Park.

    • Thanks … yes that is a good question and I can’t think of any particular reason how such a clouring would aid them… but I promise to find out when next I see one of the experts…

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