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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Marabou Stork

The Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara, residing in both wet and arid habitats. Like most storks, the Marabou is gregarious and a colonial breeder. In the African dry season (when food is more readily available as the pools shrink) it builds a tree nest in which two or three eggs are laid.

It is a huge bird, 59 inches in length and 10.5 foot wingspan means it shares the distinction of having the largest wingspan of any land bird with the Andean Condor. Unlike most storks, the Marabou flies with the neck retracted like a heron.

The Marabou is unmistakable due to its size, bare head and neck, black back, and white under arts. It has a huge bill, a pink sack at its throat, a neck ruff, and black legs and wings. The sexes are alike, but the young bird is browner and has a smaller bill. Full maturity is not reached for up to four years.

The Marabou Stork is a frequent scavenger, and will often feed with vultures. It eats small mammals, reptiles and other similar prey.

Marabou Stork