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Saddle-billed Stork

Saddle-billed Stork
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5084 W: 166 N: 13009] (48434)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-07-29
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D70, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital JPEG
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of South Africa 3 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-05-15 8:36
Viewed: 5607
Points: 60
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Sometimes I’m going back to my archive. This photo is taken in 2005 in the Kruger NP.

The Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) is a large wading bird in the stork family, Ciconiidae. It is a widespread species which is a resident breeder in sub-Saharan Africa from Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya south to South Africa, and in The Gambia, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and Chad in west Africa.

This is a close relative of the widespread Asian Black-necked Stork, the only other member of the genus Ephippiorhynchus.

The Saddle-billed Stork breeds in marshes and other wetlands in tropical lowland. It builds a large, deep stick nest in a tree, laying one or two white eggs weighing about 146g each. It does not form breeding colonies, and is usually found alone or in pairs. The incubation period is 30-35 days, with another 70 - 100 days before the chicks fledge.

This is a huge bird that regularly attains a height of 150 cm and a 270cm wingspan. The male is larger and heavier than the female, with a range of 5.1-7.5 kg, the female is usually between 5 and 6.9 kg. It is probably the tallest, if not the heaviest, of the storks. Females are distinctly smaller than the males. It is spectacularly plumaged. The head, neck, back, wings, and tail are iridescent black, with the rest of the body and the 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. Sexes are identically plumaged except that the female has a golden yellow iris, while the male's is brown. Juveniles are browner grey in plumage.

They are silent except for bill-clattering at the nest. Like most storks, these fly with the neck outstretched, not retracted like a heron; in flight, the large heavy bill is kept drooping somewhat below belly height, giving these birds a very unusual appearance to those who see them for the first time. To experienced birdwatchers on the other hand, this makes them easily recognizable even if seen from a distance. It has been suggested that due to the large size and unusual appearance in flight.

The Saddle-billed Stork, like most of its relatives, feeds mainly on fish, frogs and crabs, but also on young birds, and other land vertebrates. They move in a deliberate and stately manner as they hunt, in a similar way to the larger herons.
Source: Wikipedia

pekkavalo1, zulfu, jaycee, pvs, boreocypriensis, Gert-Paassen, mogens-j, maurydv, vanderschelden, gracious, Jamesp, haraprasan, smitha, gannu, albert, Ken52, viv, marhowie, ramthakur, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Peter,

Great capture of Saddle-billed Stork which looks very peculiar, never seen one before. Good composition and sharp details, good eye contact and nice BG.



  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1138 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-05-15 8:49]

Ha Peter,

Een mooie opname,hij zit er zo te zien rustig bij,kleuren en compositie zijn goed,ik heb ze ook gezien en gefotografeerd in kruger,helaas in de boom en ietwat te ver voor een mooie opname,blijft altijd leuk om eens door de archieven te spitten nietwaar,groetjes


  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-05-15 9:00]

Hello Peter, splendid capture of this beautiful stork. TFS. Regards,

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2461 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-05-15 9:34]

Hi Peter,

What wonderful neighbors I have today! I love this stork and his shadow. Colors are magnificent - the face is amazing. Excellent sharp details of the face, eye and irridescent plummage. A beautiful natural setting.


Hi my dear friend Peter, splendid shot of this beauty with nice DOF, good POV and framing. Great composition. TFS.


Hallo Peter,

Prachtige opname van deze vogel.
Scherpte en kleur zijn fraai en mooi dat lichtje in zijn oog.


Hello Peter

What a strange (funny) looking bird with all the colurs on the beak. great job you did here and followed with an informative note too. Clever handling of the light with - almost - no burn in the whith on the back of the bird. Colours look great and the focus if perfect with plenty of details in the plumage. I really like the metalic green on the back. Very nice composition with the bird out of center. Very nice too with the diagonal made by the shadow.

All over a very pleasant picture to look at - well done.

  • Great 
  • efsus Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 415 W: 11 N: 843] (3947)
  • [2008-05-15 14:31]

Merhaba Peter,
a very fine picture of the beautiful and colorful bird.
Well composed with good POV and sharp details.
Gaziantep is a very differant city at the moment. Come again pls. We will wait for u. Best regards. Hüseyin

Splendida cattura, ottimo POV, molto bella la composizione, molto buona la nitidezza e bellissimo l'occhio, belli e naturali i colori. Grazie e complimenti. Ciao Maurizio


What a wonderful bird this is! I must make my way down to Africa sometime in the future as the pictures from this area are amazing.
You've captured this one beautifully. Even though you took this image in full sun, the details and colors are not lost at all. On the contrary, they look excellent. Great work. TFS.

Best Regards,


Hallo Peter,
Misschien kom je deze in Ethiopië wel weer tegen.
Heb deze eigenaardige vogels een paar keer gezien in Kruger. De afstand was echter te groot. Hier heb je geluk. Goed dichtbij. Ik vind ze eigenaardig omdat het lijkt alsof de poten gebroken zijn of zo.
Goed gedaan!

  • Great 
  • darwin Gold Star Critiquer [C: 259 W: 0 N: 403] (1401)
  • [2008-05-15 16:50]

Hi Peter
Great capture with splendid color and nice detail in the plumage
tfs jon

Hello Peter,
Many thanks for sharing this Saddle-billed Stork well captured that I first encounter of it and many thanks for the useful notes regarding about it!
the image is sharp with good colour and details especially with this perfect pose!
well done
best regards

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-05-15 23:00]

Hi Peter

Greetings from A Dhabi

Great shot - good framing plus great colour and excellent detail. Well observed and captured.


Hi Peter,
A lovely capture of this beautiful stork. Excellent composition and sharp details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5804 W: 89 N: 14917] (62535)
  • [2008-05-16 1:47]

Hi Peter,excellent pic,never seen a bird like that,beautifull colours and perfect sharpenss,very interesting note too,thanks for share,Luciano

Hello Peter,
what a colourful beak it has. Excellent POV, sharpness and details in the plumage.Beautiful lighting that brings out different shades of green and blue in its black feathers.Nice catchlight in the eye too.
Thanks for the share,

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1001 W: 4 N: 3276] (14759)
  • [2008-05-16 6:52]

Hello Peter, Amazing shot and with such a beauty. Excellent frame work and lovely composition. Ganesh

Hello Peter
Great capture of this beautiful stork
Well done

Hi Peter, splendid bird with fantastic colors, excellent sharpness, very well done, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Ken52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
  • [2008-05-17 7:46]

Excellent exposure and nice detail on plumage. Nice sharp eye and good composition. Interesting post because of unusual color pattern of stork. I like the composition also.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-05-17 8:20]

Hello Peter, that's very fine bird shot my friend! Very sharp, good exposure and well composed. Very well done, thanks!


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1785 W: 36 N: 5588] (18578)
  • [2008-05-17 18:27]

Hi Peter,
Wonderful shot of this huge Saddle-billed Stork with very impressive sharpness and colours on its plumage. The bill looks amazing. Nice pose captured in bright sunlight. Excellent POV and composition. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-05-17 20:40]

Hello Peter

A very interesting and colourful bird.
The beak colour and detail is wonderful.
Excellent capture of the plumage detail.
Your POV is very good.


Hello Peter,

Beautiful picture of this stork. Very good POV, DOF and focus. I like the position of this stork resting. Great light and colours.

  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2008-05-18 11:10]

Hoi Peter,

Ze zijn heel speciaal van kleur en hoe ze zitten vind ik nog specialer, geweldig.


Hello Peter, excellent capture of this splendid Saddle-billed Stork, colours are wonderfull , excellent focus and perfect composition,

Hi Peter,
Good exposure, colors, and details, I like the way the stork sits on the back part of its legs, interesting :)
Nicely positioned in the frame, great notes on this one.
Well done & TFS!

It is a pleasure to view this image of a Stork from your archives, Peter.
The upper ring of colours red and yellow on the bill looks like a saddle, indeed.
Wonderful capture with the light illuminating the suject and highlighting its beautiful colours.

Hello Peter,
This is one fine looking stork with beak design that is stunning. Good pose with the head turn and details are vivid under fine lighting.
Thanks and have a nice day.

Hello Peter-Beautiful bird this Saddle-billed Stork.Nice colour and sharpness.I wasn't lucky to see this species.Nice to see it in KNP through your lens.Thanks for sharing.Best regards and have a nice time-Srikumar

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