At the Detroit Zoo
The saddle-billed storks, 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 hanging down from the bottom of the beak, while females have yellow eyes and no wattles.
Storks have long been regarded as symbols for fertility and good luck.