All Things Kenyan

Saddle-Billed Stork Facts

Name: Saddle-Billed Stork (or Saddlebill)

Saddle-Billed StockScientific Name: Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

African Names:Saalbekooievaar (Afrikaans), Kandjendje (Kwangali), Korongo Domo-ngazi (Swahili), Ngwamhlanga (Tsonga)

Height: Saddle-billed storks are the largest of the African storks. The saddle-billed stork is between 5 and 6 feet tall. Their wing span is up to 9 feet.

Average Adult Weight: Can weigh up to 20 pounds (6 kg).

Description: Their head, neck, back, wings, and tail are iridescent black. The rest of the body and primary flight feathers being white. The massive bill is red with a black band and a yellow frontal shield (the “saddle”). The legs and feet are black with pink knees.

Habitat: Tropical areas of Africa and are found in a range of habitats including marches, rivers, lakes and areas of wet grasslands. Saddle-billed storks prefer wide, open spaces and avoid forested areas.

Countries found in: From Senegal to Ethiopia and south to South Africa. (Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Gabon, Congo (DRC), Congo (Brazzaville), Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa)

Babies: One to two eggs are laid at a time. The incubation period is 30 to 35 days. The mating pair takes turns taking care of the young birds until they are fledged – about 70 to 100 days after hatching.

Saddle-Billed StockFood: Grasshoppers, frogs, fish, crabs, mollusks, lizards, and young birds.

Endangered: no, although the wild population of saddle-billed storks has decreased significantly.

Interesting Facts: Female storks have yellow eyes while the males have dark eyes, red feet, and a small waddle (underneath his beak), otherwise the two sexes are identical. Saddle-billed storks are silent since they do not have any muscles in their voice box. They rattle their bills to make noise and communicate.