For the past three weeks we have been noticing an increase in the visits this particular youngster has made to our Pondoro dams. Upon arrival it still had the slight features of a juvenile. Skin around the eyes and the legs were lacking the bright red it has now, instead having a grey tone to it.
African Black Storks are solitary breeders with a strong preference to cliff faces. This is a limiting factor in the Lowveld. Fortunately, being close to the Escarpment and the Blyde River Canyons means we often enjoy visits (and lengthy stays) on the reserve.
We are expecting permanent departure in about a month. Courtship will be starting soon and breeding season is from May. It is uncommon for birds to breed during the winter in Southern Africa, but a smart adaptation. For most of Autumn, Winter and Spring the Lowveld enjoys no rain. As the water level of all the dams and river pools recedes to muddy puddles it makes hunting for concentrated fish easy. Therefore making it easy to raise chicks with the abundance in food.