Overview

Distribution

Sub-Saharan Africa: all except most of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Somalia.

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Range

Locally in Africa south of the Sahara.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour There is no evidence that this species undertakes any regular long-distance migration (Hancock et al. 1992), although it is not altogether sedentary (del Hoyo et al. 1992) as some populations make local nomadic movements to optimum foraging habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1992) during periods of drought or when large rivers are in flood (Hancock et al. 1992). Breeding starts late in the rains or in the dry season (del Hoyo et al. 1992), timed so that the young fledge at the height of the dry season when prey is concentrated and easier to obtain (Hancock et al. 1992). The species nests in solitary pairs and usually remains solitary when not breeding (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hancock et al. 1992), although it may occur in small family parties or in groups of up to 12 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Habitat It inhabits extensive fresh, brackish or alkaline wetlands (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hockey et al. 2005) in open, semi-arid areas (Hancock et al. 1992) and savanna (Hockey et al. 2005), with relatively high abundances of fish (Brown et al. 1982)and with large trees nearby for nesting and roosting (Hancock et al. 1992) (although it avoids deeply forested areas (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hancock et al. 1992)). Suitable habitats include shallow freshwater marshes (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hancock et al. 1992), wet grasslands (del Hoyo et al. 1992), the margins of large or small rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hancock et al. 1992), lake shores (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hancock et al. 1992, Hockey et al. 2005), pans (Hockey et al. 2005) and flood-plains (Hancock et al. 1992, Hockey et al. 2005). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of fish 15-30 cm long (Hancock et al. 1992) up to 500 g in weight, as well as crabs, shrimps, frogs, reptiles, small mammals, young birds, molluscs and insects (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (e.g. large water beetles, termite alates (Hockey et al. 2005)). Breeding site The nest is a large flat platform of sticks (del Hoyo et al. 1992) placed up to 20-30m (Hancock et al. 1992) in a tree near water isolated from other trees and sources of disturbance (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It may also nest on cliffs (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hancock et al. 1992) and in the abandoned nests of other bird species (Hancock et al. 1992).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Mainly near water

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Dispersal

Movements and dispersal

Resident

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 30.2 years (captivity) Observations: Although there are anecdotal reports suggesting longer lifespans, the oldest animal of this species on record is an individual at Zurich Zoo that lived to the age of 30.2 years (Brouwer et al. 1992).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Population

Population
The population is estimated to number 1,000-25,000 individuals, roughly equating to 670-17,000 mature individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The species is vulnerable to disturbance and to wetland degradation (e.g. pesticide contamination) and conversion to agriculture (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

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Wikipedia

Saddle-billed stork

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.

Description[edit]

Catching a fish in Tanzania
Female in Kenya – irises are yellow

This is a huge bird that regularly attains a height of 150 cm (59 in), a length of 142 cm (56 in) and a 2.4–2.7 m (7.9–8.9 ft) wingspan. The male is larger and heavier than the female, with a range of 5.1–7.52 kg (11.2–16.6 lb), with a mean mass of 6.38 kg (14.1 lb). The female is usually between 5 and 6.84 kg (11.0 and 15.1 lb), wit a mean mass of 5.95 kg (13.1 lb).[2] It is probably the tallest of the storks (though not the heaviest), due in no small part to it extremely long legs (tarsus length is up to 36.5 cm (14.4 in)). The long bill measures from 27.3 to 36 cm (10.7 to 14.2 in).[3] The sexes can be readily distinguished by the golden yellow irises of the female and the brown irises and dangling yellow wattles of the male.

It is spectacularly plumaged, identical in male and female when perched but the female shows much more white in the primaries in flight. The head, neck, back, wings, and tail are iridescent black, with the rest of the body and the primary flight feathers being white. Juveniles are browner grey in plumage. The massive bill is red with a black band and a yellow frontal shield (the "saddle"). The legs and feet are black with pink hocks. On the chest is a bare red patch of skin, whose colour darkens during breeding season.[4]

Behaviour[edit]

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, this species is the basis for the "big bird" and kongamato cryptids.

Breeding[edit]

The saddle-billed stork breeds in forested waterlands and other floodlands in tropical lowland. It builds a large, deep stick nest in a tree, laying one or two white eggs weighing about 146 g 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.

Food and feeding[edit]

The saddle-billed stork, like most of its relatives, feeds mainly on fish, frogs and crabs, but also on small birds and reptiles. They move in a deliberate and stately manner as they hunt, in a similar way to the larger herons.

Relation to Ancient Egyptian culture[edit]

This bird is represented in an Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph (Gardiner G29) that had the phonetic value "ba":

G29

[dubious ] Its description is often erroneously given as "jabiru", which is actually this species' Latin American relative. The Third Dynasty pharaoh Khaba incorporated this hieroglyph in his name (Jiménez Serrano 2002).

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses, 2nd Edition by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (2008), ISBN 978-1-4200-6444-5.
  3. ^ Hancock & Kushan, Storks, Ibises and Spoonbills of the World. Princeton University Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-12-322730-0
  4. ^ San Diego Zoo file PDF (477 KB)
  • Barlow, Clive (1997): A field guide to birds of the Gambia and Senegal. Pica Press, Nr. Robertsbridge (East Sussex). ISBN 1-873403-32-1
  • Jiménez Serrano, Alejandro (2002): Royal Festivals in the Late Predynastic Period and the First Dynasty. British Archaeological Reports (International Series) 1076. ISBN 1-84171-455-0
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