Good Day to all of you!!!!!
I am a Bird Guide opperating in Kruger National Park & I witnessed a very rare sighting of a Saddle-Billed Stork in Kruger National Park between the s118 & s119 entrances on the s114 I forwarded the images to the EWT & Birdlife. We dont know if it is a male or a female the reason is that the bird has yellow wattles & yellow eyes now in my experience the male has brown (Dark) eyes & yellow wattles & the female only yellow eyes & no wattles. Anyway the images I sent in were forwarded to Dr Alan Kemp & here is his answer
Kyk weer mooi na jou fotos, hoe identifiseer ons mannetjie en wyfie saalbekke?
Volgens meeste Bird Guides het die wyfies geel om die oog, en die mannetjies het 'n donker oog met klein geel "wattles"by die basis van die bek.
Jou fotos het beide geel ogies en "wattles". Dis die tweede bydrae wat ek uit hierdie spesifieke plek kry waar hierdie "Mrs Balls" soos ek dit nou noem afgeneem is.
Ons het al dit na Dr Alan Kemp gestuur om te verduidelik, en hier is sy antwoord vir jou inligting.
Have no idea how to interpret Mrs Balls with his/her yellow eyes AND yellow wattles. Have never seen or heard of anything like that in this species, or any other storks, but that may be my ignorance rather than total lack of information. A quick Google search indicates that intersex is regular in all groups of vertebrates (a 1974 book on the subject even), with two main causes, one genetic and the other environmental.
What is interesting, from the Caster Semenya story, is that Limpopo Province has the highest incidence of intersex people in RSA, and one of the highest in the world, and there are doctors studying this and suspecting the DDT still used to spray round homes for malaria as the cause. Google indicates that several pesticides/chemicals, including DDT, either mimic oestrogens (main female hormones) or despress androgens (main male hormones) and so cause hormonal imbalances during development that can result in various effects, including development of both ovaries and testes. Maybe river/fish quality will indicate if there are any pollutants of these kinds there for concern to the storks - there is probably good river data given the croc problems, and Andrew Deacon may be able to help. Just ideas, but may help in how to proceed, and as always more cases/data will be great.
Am also forwarding you a second email, with images of two subadult SBS taken just above the high level bridge over the Sabie below Skukuza. This age class was very rare in our early 90s project, so may be of interest. All the adult birds we saw were too far away for useful images.
Ons weet eintlik baie min van hierdie spesie en het op hierdie stadium meer vrae as antwoorde. Ek hou jou op hoogte as jy belang stel.