Monday, February 7, 2011

Flight of the saddled billed stork.

This is a typical scene while traversing  the Okavango swamps ,a pair of Saddled billed storks posing in an open swamp plain .Although the Okavango is home to hundreds of differnt beutiful birds these are one of my favorite types of birds.

These  huge birds can attain a height of 150 cm (5 feet) and a 270 cm (9 feet) wingspan. The male is larger and heavier than the female, with a range of 5.1-7.5 kg, the female is usually between 5 and 6.9 kg. They are  probably the tallest, if not the heaviest, of the storks .Females are distinctly smaller than the males. The sexes can be readily distinguished by the golden yellow irises of the female and the brown irises of the male.
The head, neck, back, wings, and tail are iridescent black, with the rest of the body and the primary flight feathers being white.  The massive bill is red with a black band and a yellow frontal shield (the “saddle”) hence the name , Saddled billed storks .They are often seen in large open areas where they can comfortably hunt ,insects, frogs ,and even small fish.

After drawing in the birds ,I did a thin oil wash from the tree line to the bottom of the painting,then I built up the details such as the grass,water,etc.I then did the trees ,sky and last of all the two birds.The foremost grass storks I blurred ,and then did a light blue and gray wash over the trees to give them a smoky sense of distance .

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