Among many wonderful memories of being on safari in Botswana are those of its many magnificent birds. These include our featured subject, the saddle-bill stork, which lives in sub-Saharan Africa.
These are huge long-legged birds, attaining a height of almost 5 ft (150 cm) and weighing up to 17 lbs (8 kg). The birds have a wingspan of up to 9 ft (2.7m), so they are easy to spot at a distance. They are tallest and most vividly colored of Africa’s storks. The tend to live on at the edge of forests, where they have access to tall trees (on which they build their nests) and marshes (wherein they feed). Their diet includes fish, beetles, frogs, reptiles and small mammals.
The bird’s name is derived from the yellow band across its bill, reminiscent of an old style saddle. They are lovely creatures and it’s a pleasure to watch them drop from they sky to their nests or into a pond.
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