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Saddle-Billed Stork

Saddle-Billed Stork
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-10-18
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-04-29 5:18
Viewed: 5578
Points: 94
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Saddle-Billed Stork / Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

This male Saddle-Billed Stork is number 41 in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park which I am still sharing. Enjoy!

During our last vacation to the Kruger National Park we where very fortunate to encounter with these birds on quite a few occasions. Due to their dwindling numbers we only saw them once or twice during the previous number of years and then it was only from a distance. Nowadays these birds are rather rare and uncommon and it was quite interesting how many fellow visitors stopped next to us to tell us about the bird's "endangered status". We could see everyone were very pleased that they had the opportunity to photograph them and especially from up close. Obviously both Loot and I were also in our element for being able to come so close to them on a couple of occasions.

Unlikely to be confused with any other stork species because of its large size, unusual, red and black banded bill, and the yellow 'saddle' at the bill base. The male has dark (brown) eyes and a small, yellow wattle. The female has yellow eyes and lack the yellow 'saddle' at the bill base.

Distribution and habitat
Occurs from Senegal to Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, eastern South Africa and Mozambique, largely absent from coastal West Africa. It generally prefers freshwater marshes, rivers through open savanna, lake shores, pans and flood plains.

It mainly eats fish, doing most of its foraging in shallow water, either standing still and catching any prey that come within range, or by wading through water and stabbing prey. The following food items have been recorded in its diet: Fish, frogs, reptiles, small mammals, birds, mollusks and crustaceans.

They are monogamous, strongly territorial solitary nester, with breeding pairs probably staying together for life. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a large platform of sticks and earth with a central cup lined with grass or reeds. It is typically placed on top of either a tall or low tree in a swamp, occasionally using the nest of another bird such as Tawny eagle, Wahlberg's eagle and Secretarybird. Egg-laying season is almost year-round, peaking from August-March. It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for roughly 30-35 days, alternating in 1-6 hour shifts. The chicks are brooded by both parents for up to about 10 days, probably leaving the nest at approximately 70-100 days old, although this is not an accurate figure. They are fed by both adults, who also regurgitate water for them to drink.

Not threatened globally but endangered in South Africa and Swaziland and threatened in Mozambique. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

vanda, maurydv, PaulLees, ramthakur, bungbing, paolo49, lousat, luciola, maaciejka, KOMSIS, jconceicao, CeltickRanger, Mamagolo2, siggi, mvdisco, Alex99, uleko has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To dmark11: Dwindling numbersMiss_Piggy 2 04-30 21:16
To vanderschelden: BlogspotMiss_Piggy 1 04-30 09:09
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Anna,
What fabulous colours and definition with even the sheen on the feathers very visible and beautiful. The composition and exposure are excellent but that is a superfluous comment as we would get nothing less from you anyway. Indeed a pleasure to view. Best wishes.

PS: Would you like to share in the amazing experiences and images of three men from here riding their motorcycles all the way up the 13 500 Km length of Africa? They have been on the road for a month and have done nearly 10 000 Km now. Visit their Cape-to-Cairo website at http://threefarmersandagreek.wordpress.com/


Hi Anna,
Impressive photo for this strange bird!
Excellent sharpness and very nice composition.
Thanks for sharing

Hallo Anna,
a fantastic portrait of this special Stork taken from an excellent point of view showing well its features, very good sharpness and marvellous natural colours, a very nice composition
Have a good weekend
Ciao Maurizio

Hi Anna,

What a very nice capture of this Saddle-Billed Stork, beautiful natural detailed colours,
Superb sharpness and good depth of field control, a little action as he looks like he's on a casual walkabout,
Nicely placed in the format, a good shot and well taken,
Congratulations Anna and have a lovely Weekend,
Best Regards,


Superb picture with the compact camera, Anna. A delightful composition with fine reproduction of colours on the bird.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2011-04-29 7:02]

Lovely species and fine image, well done. tfs

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2011-04-29 7:10]

Hello Anna
Superb capture of an interesting bird
Thanks for sharing

Hello Anna,
A lovely image of this Saddle-Billed Stork, excellent sharpness details and beautiful natural setting
Thanks for sharing,
Best Regards,

WOW You just gave me a target species and photo for the next time I visit SA
What a Shot, and What a bird

Enjoy your weekend

Excellent pose of the bird. Very well captured!!!

Hello Anna!
What a sharp and fantastic shot ! Great colors and amazing POV !This lovely bird is just posing to you ! As always, very good job, indeed!
Many congrats and TFS!
Best wishes,

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  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2011-04-29 8:12]

Hi Anna!
I made a mistake...I had already written my comment... Fortunately I saw again your photo. Sorry Anna :))
Congratulations on your 41th capture of birds.
The portrait are excellent, with perfect sharpness and fine details. I like the light, which creates nice shadows and makes the metalic colours of the wings stand out.
Very well composed. Congratulations.
Have a nice WE/E.
Ciao! Vanda

Hello Anna, this beautiful capture all points of view. A great image and a great photo and a very beautiful and colorful bird. Hello Paul

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  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2011-04-29 9:13]

Hi Anna,this is truely a fantastic capture! Very impressive POV and magnificent bird position,fantastic sharpness and colors and the perfect backgroun too to contrast the colors of the stork!Thanks for share,have a nice weekend,Luciano

Hello Anna,
Awesome Stork interesting with a unique beak. A magnificent portrait of a bird. Thanks for this magnificent bird.

Ciao Anna, nice pose for a lovely Saddle Biled Stork in a beautiful natural ambientation, excellent sharpness, perfect focus on eye, fantastic colors, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

Hello Anna,
beautiful photo. Excellent sharpness and composition. Perfect point of view. Amazing colours.
Have a nice weekend,

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  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2011-04-29 10:25]

Hallo Anna,
Extraordinary beauty of a stork!
Lovely capture of this Saddle-Billed Stork with a very good focus, sharpness, fantastic colors, details, POV and composition.
Best wishes,

Ciao Anna. Magnificent detailed sharpende and coloured taken. So interesting the geometric BG.


Hello Anna,

Excellent photo of this beautiful bird.
Colours,light and sharpness are superb.
Good composition.

Hello Anna,
One of the best picture I have ever seen with this species. Details and sharpness are excellent, colours are vivid, all taken from a perfect POV. Well done!

Bonjour Anna,
Tu as eu beaucoup de chance pour pouvoir approcher d'aussi près le sujet et nous restituer une superbe publication finement détaillée et délicatement colorée.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Hello Anna

Excellent close-up photo of the Saddle-Billed Stork,
with fine POV and appropriate framing, beautiful light,
excellent focus sharpness and details, TFS


  • Great 
  • egres Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 44 W: 2 N: 144] (754)
  • [2011-04-29 20:01]

Hello Anna
What a great shot of that great bird. It is very colorful and the image is clear. Very impressive.
Nicely done

amazing stork, I wish I could have seen it as well, greetings Ori

Hi Anna,

First of all it's well done as there's an excellent focus and no harsh sunlight. You can view the metallic in its blacks and there are no blown out highlights as well. Great.

Secondly my first thought about this image was: so close. I spotted this bird one or twice in KNP. It was too far away though. I read you coped with that issue in your note very well. I do have to say that Pretoriuskop wasn't on my itinerary though.

I'm visiting the Kruger National Park this year and once again I asked and received interesting tips from Loot. I want to thank you for that. I just started a new blog about KNP http://annickvanderschelden.blogspot.com/. It's called The way to Crooks Corner.

Kind regards and TFS,

Hi Anna,
Wow what an unusual looking bird. I like those amazingly long legs and that incredable red beak. Is the dwindling numbers of this bird due to habitat loss? Really nice capture for you. Have yourself a fine weekend.

hello Anna, impressive and so strange bird (the colors the beak), beautiful posture and the photo performance!
regards Nasos

Hello Anna,
Hierdie is voorwaar 'n pragtige foto!! Daar was verlede jaar 'n kompetisie oor die Saal Bek ooievaar en ek dink jy sou uitstekend gevaar het.
Baie geluk my vriendin.

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  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2011-04-30 12:26]

Hello Anna.
what a colourful beak it has. Excellent POV, sharpness and details in the plumage.Beautiful lighting that brings out different shades blue in its black feathers.Nice catchlight in the eye too.
Best regards Siggi

Otra gran sorpresa: animales que nunca había visto y de una belleza
y colorido realmente sorprendestes. Gran nitidez y luz.
La gama de colores del conjunto es una auténtica belleza.
Saludos Anna: Josep Ignasi.

Hello Anna,

Wow! What a fantasic bird which I see for the first time!!! The colors are awesome and you manage perfectly the exposition in order to appreciate them so well. Excellent pov and details on the feathers. You also compose it nicely by putting it at the left within this vertical frame.

Very werll done and TFS :)


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  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2011-05-02 19:14]

Hello Anna,
This particular bird is shown very well in a fine pose, but it is the contrasting colors which really draws the attention to this attractive fellow. What a beautiful specimen and posing just perfectly for you on this occasion. I can only imagine what a spectacular spectacle a large group of these guys would make while in flight. Great job!!

Hi Anna,
Beautiful caught of view of this Saddle-Billed Stork ,
lovely bird and great sharpness and light,
Excellent capture and point of view.
Beautiful composition and details,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2011-05-05 6:50]

Hello Anna,
What a fantastic photo of this Saddle-billed Stork....and so close! It's natural environment is also very beautiful. Excellent sharpness, details and splendid colours. Taken from a very good low POV. Fine composition.

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  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2011-05-06 3:38]

Kia ora Anna
I just added my tuppence worth in the Forum, and decided to come visit you... Yes, I did miss my time here, but I felt it was time to move on.
You've got a beauty here. I love his colours and sharp details. He looks like he's got Waikato (NZ) colours - and he's all ready to cheer NZ on in the Rugby World Cup soon!!!
Love to you and Loot
Ka kite ano

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2011-05-06 12:37]

Hello Anna,
The Saddle-billed is a beautiful species of stork, well portrayed by you in this image.
The lateral POV shows its features with excellent sharpness and colours in a fine pose against a contrasting natural BG that forms part of a pleasing composition.
A truly fine image that is great to view!
Thanks and kind regards,

An impressive bird and a beautiful photograph. regards yiannis

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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2011-05-07 7:15]

Hi Anna.
Fantastic 3D-image of an amazing bird. Its shapes, colours, pose are superb as well as pictorial scenery. Bravo.

Hello Anna
Interesting species and beautiful photo with very good composition and good sharpness. The colours are fantastic.

Hi Anna,
I must say that I rather see one of the storks in Kruger than a cheetah! Great photo with superb sharpness! You know KNP had some kind of competition last year for research purpose.
Best Regards

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  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-05-13 21:48]

Hello Anna,
another big beauty for me, especially the bill. so amazing to see all sorts of beaks,and very colourful too. Never cross my mind to have noticed such a unique and special stork like this.
Such a good presentation from you with the details and features well seen .
what an exciting composition!


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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2011-05-15 6:10]

Hello Anna,
Another really great close-up, this time of an elegant Saddle-billed Stork! I like its pose and details are pin-sharp. Wonderful colours too that stand out against the 'blue' water. Very well done!
Many thanks and best regards, Ulla

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  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2011-05-15 16:23]

Hi Anna,
I love these saddle-billed storks! But I have only seen them at zoos.
I would imagine it would be a thrill to see these huge and colorful birds in the wild.
A beautiful sideways presentation with vivid colors and excellent exposure, highlighting the many hues of the dark plumage. Wonderful details and dainty pose.
TFS. ; )

Salut Anna!

Incroyable d'originalité ce bel oiseau! J'admire la netteté de ta photo, ainsi que le respect des couleurs! Belle luminosité aussi.



Hi Anna,

Very nice capture! That's a strange looking bird. Great colours and amazing DOF!


Miss Piggy, beautiful shot of this stork. Sharpness and detail are really good. Have a great day, and thanks for your comments, Bill

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