Detroit Zoo African Spoonbill

Saddle-billed stork

At the Detroit Zoo
The saddle-billed storks, Ramona and Clete, were paired in 2009 at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Saddle-billed Stork Species Survival Plan, a program to ensure the long-term survival of the species' captive population in zoos.

The saddle-billed stork is a large and strikingly colored bird standing 3 to 5 feet tall with a wingspan of up to 9 feet. It has black and white plumage and a large laterally compressed bill, orangish-red at the base and tip and black in the middle. The top of its bill is covered with a yellow frontal shield, or saddle, made of soft, leathery skin. It has black legs and the feet are orangish-red. Males are larger and have black eyes and two yellow wattles hang down from the bottom of the beak, while females have yellow eyes and no wattles.

Scientific name: Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
Continent: Africa
Habitat: Along rivers, lake shores, flood plains and swamps
Size: 3 to 5 feet tall
Weight: 11 to 16 pounds
Diet: Fish, crustaceans, small reptiles
Reproduction: One to five eggs, which incubate for 30 to 35 days
: 12 years in the wild; over 30 years in captivity
Conservation Status: Least Concern



 Storks have long been regarded as symbols for fertility and good luck.