You might think spotting a leopard is difficult until you try and spot a saddle-billed stork! It is estimated that there are less than 50 pairs of saddle-billed storks left in Southern Africa. That is less than 100 birds. These birds can be identified as individuals by the colour markings on their bills which form black and red bands over the upper and lower beak of the bird.  The width and pattern of these band differ from bird to bird. Saddle-billed storks are extremely territorial so on an area such as Kapama you may only have two resident pairs. We know of one pair that frequents the Eastern sector of the reserve and they are sighted from time to time during game drives. As you may well appreciate, these birds are therefore extremely rare to find. In South Africa they are mostly found in the areas adjacent to the Kruger National Park. The South African National Parks (SANPARKS) staff are currently busy with a census to try and determine the total numbers remaining of these amazing bird. Hopefully we may see an increase in their number in the future.

Armand Steyn

Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge

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