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Saddle-billed Stork | Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

The Saddle-billed Stork is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Ciconiidae bird family group which includes birds such as Storks.

The description for the Saddle-billed Stork (Latin name Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 88 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 625. You will find a picture of the Saddle-billed Stork on page 593.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Saddle-billed Stork between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Saddle-billed Stork is known in Afrikaans as Saalbekooievaar.

The Saddle-billed Stork has a height of 150 cms and weighs around 7000 gms. The head is coloured black, purple while the bill is coloured black. The Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis has a black, purple coloured throat, black legs and a coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black, purple

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are black

Throat is black, purple

Back is

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird is a noctunal feeder and is able to forage in the dark because of the enhanced night vision. It also forages at this time because that?s when the prey comes out in the open.

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Saddle-billed Stork strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Saddle-billed Stork is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The Saddle-billed Stork is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is found in the African bushveld

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

You can see the Saddle-billed Stork bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Saddle-billed Stork is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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