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The Zoo has one male named Will and one female named Grace. They were both born in the wild in Tanzania and arrived at the Zoo on July 7, 1987.
These long-legged birds are easy to spot from their bright red bills with bright yellow patches.
Saddle-billed storks are among the largest of the storks. Their large, and very pointed bills are well designed for jabbing at fish in shallow waters. Their black and white plumage is a striking contrast to the bright red bill. Saddle-bills are unique among storks in that the male and female differ in eye color. See if you can spot the male with his dark eye or the female’s pale yellow.
Unknown in the wild but birds can live over 30 years in captivity.
Unlike many stork species, saddle-billed storks are not colonial but spend their time alone or in pairs. It is believed that adults will pair for life.
Nesting in the wild is timed so that the young fledge from the nest at the end of the dry season. Saddle-billed storks become sexually mature at about 3 years of age. A pair will build a large, flat nest out of sticks usually on top of a tree. After laying 2-4 eggs, the parents will incubate for about 30 days and the young fledge about 90 days after hatching.
They stand about 57- 60 inches tall with a 95- 105 inch wingspan. The males are noticeably larger than females.
Average 13 lbs.
Saddle-billed stork feed on a variety of land and water vertebrates in the wild. They mainly eat frogs, fish and crabs but will eat just about any animal they can catch including birds and rodents. At the Zoo the birds are offered meat based complete feed as part of their base diet that is formulated for birds of prey and contains all the nutrients including the vitamins and minerals the birds require. The base diet also includes mice. For training and enrichment the keepers use a variety of small fish.
Marshes and wet grasslands in tropical African south of the Sahara
To learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo, click here.
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