At the Detroit Zoo
The saddle-billed storks, Ramona and Clete, are permanently off display at the Zoo to allow them more privacy during mating season, which for captive storks is November through March. 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
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
Lifespan: 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.