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Nairobi Park Diary: Big bill birds.

As I approached a dam in the forest, I slowed the vehicle down to a crawl speed in the hope that my arrival would not alarm any wildlife in the water. My effort was rewarded. A magnificent male saddle-billed stork was standing in the shallow water near the edge of the dam. The saddle-billed stork was hunting for aquatic snacks in the reeds, and was almost lightning fast when striking to catch prey. Over a short period of time, there were quite a few successful prey catches, including a frog.

To actually see a saddlebill in the wild is always a thrill, as they are impressive and colourful. They are huge birds that regularly attain heights of 150cm ( 59 in) or more, a length of 142 cm ( 56 in) and a 2.4-2.7 m ( 7.9-8.9 ft) wingspan. The male is larger and heavier than the female. In many parts of Africa, these storks are rare, so to actually have them in the Nairobi National Park is special.

There are a number of large-billed birds that are found in the park. Apart from the saddle-billed stork, there are also many other types of interesting storks, such as marabou storks, openbill storks, yellow-billed storks, white storks and woolly necked storks

I know people who visit the park for the prime purpose of going on a 'birding safari'. There are hundreds of species to see at all times of the year. Stopping at a wetland and watching the incredible variety of birds that God has created is very rewarding and helps relieve stress. The big bill birds in the park, also known as storks, are really worth watching. Why not try it next time?

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:May 5, 2018
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