Saddle-billed storks

The saddle-billed stork is a large beautiful bird, actually the tallest stork in the world, standing at around 5 feet. It is black with a white patch on the underside but the real beauty is in the bill which is long, black and red with bright yellow and deep red at the base. One can distinguish males from females by the wattle, a small piece of skin around the bill area – males have 2 small wattles which are bright yellow in colour, while females do not.

These storks are usually seen in wetlands or around large bodies of water where they find their food. Their diet consists mainly of fish which they catch by wading in shallow water and skewering them with their bills. But they have also been known to follow the little quelea birds around during their breeding season, in the hope that young birds fall out of their nest so they can snatch them and eat them.

Saddle-billed storks are endangered in South Africa because there are fewer and fewer water source habitats available to them.