- Art Gallery -

Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Ciconiiformes
Familia: Ciconiidae
Genus: Ephippiorhynchus
Species: Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

Name

Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis (Shaw, 1800)

Reference

Transactions of the Linnean Society of London (1) 5 p.35 pl.3

Vernacular names
Internationalization
Česky: Čáp sedlatý

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

This is a huge bird that regularly attains a height of 150 cm (5 feet) and a 270 cm (9 feet) 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. The sexes can be readily distinguished by the golden yellow irises of the female and the brown irises of the male.

It is spectacularly plumaged, identical in male and female. 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 knees. On the chest is a bare red patch of skin, whose colour darkens during breeding season.[1]
Behaviour

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 (see here [2] for photo). 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

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 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.
Food and feeding

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

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

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

^ San Diego Zoo filePDF (477 KB)
^ Afrika online: Okawango - Sattelstorch - Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis - Saddlebilled Stork

Barlow, Clive (1997): A field guide to birds of the Gambia and Senegal. Pica Press, Nr. Robertsbridge (East Sussex). ISBN 1-873403-32-1
BirdLife International (2008). Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 3 February 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern.
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

Biology Encyclopedia

Birds Images

Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License