Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis Scientific name definitions

Jonah Gula
Version: 2.0 — Published June 25, 2021


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The Saddle-billed Stork is found in a variety of open freshwater and saltwater wetlands, including rivers, lakes, floodplains, swamps, marshes, pans, and estuaries (4). However, environmental requirements are only coarsely understood. Range-wide and regional niche modeling revealed annual and seasonal precipitation variables are most important in determining distribution along with vegetation cover at multiple scales. Occurrence is most strongly positively associated with 400–900 mm of annual precipitation, which is a pattern generally similar across regions (Gula et al., in prep.; Figure 1). The modeled relationships with seasonal precipitation variables revealed a certain balance between enough rain to fill depleted water sources (i.e. aquatic prey habitat) and not too much to decrease density of prey and make foraging difficult. At the range-wide scale, models showed the highest probability of occurrence in permanently flooded, closed broadleaved forest and regularly flooded grasslands and woody vegetation. The lowest probability was in broadleaved evergreen/semi-deciduous forest and bare areas. In East Africa, the species was positively associated with most land cover categories but had the lowest in broadleaved evergreen/semi-deciduous forest. In southern Africa, the highest probabilities of occurrence were in regularly flooded grassland and woody vegetation, and sparsely vegetated areas. The weakest association was with closed broadleaved forest. Finally, in West Africa, it was most positively associated with regularly flooded grassland and woody vegetation, and most weakly associated with cropland land cover types. Thus, it is apparent the species mostly occurs in wet savannas with some woody vegetation, which is necessary for nesting.

Habitat in Breeding Range

The species is not known to have a distinct breeding range.

Habitat in Nonbreeding Range

The species is not known to have a distinct non-breeding range.

Recommended Citation

Gula, J. (2021). Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.sabsto1.02