Saddle-billed Stork in the Okavango Delta

Endangered due to diminishing wetlands and suitable habitat! But in the Okavango Delta these beautiful birds are found in good numbers.

They are the tallest of all storks, mate for life and both share in incubating the eggs (30 days – 35 days).

The main distinguishing difference between male and female are the bright yellow wattles hanging on each side of the face of the male. The female has no wattles.

These birds are gracious in flight, but will compete between themselves for a meal, as seen in this sequence below.

We followed three mature Saddle-bills which were on an absolute mission, striding across wide open shallow areas and making it difficult to keep up.

The first to notice the fish was the female and she typically flapped her wings as if to corral the hapless fish against the water grass.

The next moment she dropped her head as I instinctively pressed the shutter release.

Only after watching her flip her head back, did I realise that she had been successful in her mission!

The final frame below is her flying off presumably to feed her chick…

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