The saddle-billed stork can grow up to a height of 1.50 m and is easily recognised by the black and white colours in their plumage and especially for their big yellow, red and black bill. The male has brown eyes, while females have golden yellow irises.
It lives in the south of the Sahara, by shallow watering holes and damp areas where it feeds on invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and chickens.
Tropical Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia in the east and south to northern South Africa.
- Distribution / Resident
- Extint in the wild
- Critically endangered
- In Danger
- Near threatened
- Minor concern
- Insufficient data
- Not evaluated
Discover how they are
The saddle-billed stork is enormous, reaching heights of up to 1.50 metres. It is easily recognisable by the black and white plumage and, above all, the large bill, which is yellow, red and black. They have an interesting sexual dimorphism, which is only seen in the colouring of the iris, as males have dark-brown eyes and females have yellow ones.
They live south of the Sahara, from Senegal to Ethiopia and south to South Africa, around shallow masses of shallow water and wetlands.
They feed on invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and bird eggs.
Breeding starts at the end of the wet season, thus ensuring that the chicks have some freedom of movement until the end of the dry season. Like other Ciconiiformes, the nest of saddle-billed storks is extremely large, up to a two metre diameter, constructed in treetops with branches and twigs. In general, they build their nests close to aquatic areas or swamplands. They tend to lay two or three eggs that are incubated from 30 to 35 days. The young, which leave the nest after 70 to 100 days, tend to remain around the family for a couple of years, until reaching sexual maturity, which is when they start searching for their own breeding grounds. The oldest birds detected in this species exceeded 35 years of age.
Basically sedentary, they make nomadic movements always within their own territory and depending on the abundance of food and the condition of lagoons and swamps.
Populations are quite stable, although not so abundant anywhere, partly because of their territorial nature and partly because of the growing destruction and degradation of the wetlands in which they live.