Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis Scientific name definitions

Jonah Gula
Version: 2.0 — Published June 25, 2021

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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Adults are not known to vocalize but they do make bill clattering sounds during some social displays. Chicks make weak vocalizations when begging (10).


No adult vocalizations are known. In captivity, chicks have been known to squeak within the egg in the days prior to hatching (M. Herry, personal communication). While begging for food in the nest, chicks make weak squealing sounds that are not as loud as the young of colonial-nesting storks – possibly a strategy to remain undetected by potential predators or because they are not vocally competing with a colony of other young (10). Apparently, chicks make similar begging calls after fledging while still provisioned by parents (86).

Nonvocal Sounds

Sounds from adults are restricted to bill clattering during some social displays. Males have been observed slowly clattering their bills during copulation in Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) and the Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria), so this behavior is assumed to be the same in Saddle-billed Stork (10). Chicks clatter their bills rapidly when their parents arrive at the nest (12). Kahl (10) observed a defense display by chicks in which they slowly clattered their bills until an intruding bird (such as a raptor) left. Similar defensive bill clattering was observed in an immature stork while threatening a group of Yellow-billed Storks (Mycteria ibis; 10), so this behavior may also be related to territoriality while foraging.

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