Marabou Stork

This is a huge, unmissable and unmistakable stork

South Africa BirdlifeThe Marabou Stork {Leptoptilos crumeniferus}

This is a huge, unmissable and unmistakable stork. Marabou are scavengers and can be found around refuse dumps as well as with vultures around carcasses.

Marabou Stork don't rely solely on scavenging, they will catch small rodents and reptiles. Airborne, the Marabou are superb flyers, soaring at high altitude across the plains.

A large male Marabou Stork, standing up to 1.5 m tall and weighing nearly 9 kg, is one of the largest flying birds in the world. Their wingspan approaches 2.9 m.

Quick Facts

Size

Weight: 9 kg.
Height: 1.5 m.
Wingspan: 2.9 m.

Habitat

Marabou prefer dry open savannahs near large lakes or rivers. Marabous are often found around fishing villages, slaughterhouses, and rubbish dumps.

Distribution

The Marabou Stork is found throughout most of tropical Africa.

Diet

Marabou Storks behave more like vultures than stork and will eat just about any kind of animal, dead or alive. Living prey includes termites, fish, locusts, grasshoppers, army-worm caterpillars, frogs, rodents, crocodile eggs and hatchlings, quelea nestlings, doves, young and adult flamingos, cormorant nestlings, and pelican chicks.

Socialisation

A gregarious bird, the marabou stork is often seen in groups, with up to 1,000 individuals gathering in close proximity to roost at night. A colonial breeder, with colonies ranging in size from 20 pairs up to several thousand and often living alongside other species. They are rather lazy birds and spend much of their time standing around, motionless.

Reproduction

The female lays 2-3 chalky white eggs. Both parents incubate for 29-31 days. Chicks grow rapidly in the first few weeks of life as their parents keep them constantly supplied with food regurgitated onto the floor of the nest. The pre-fledging period, 95-115 days, is relatively long in this species. Most birds reach sexual maturity in their fourth year and may live for more than 25 years.

Incubation

The incubation period lasts for 29 to 31 days.

Life Expectancy

Up to 25 years.

Predators

Humans.

References

Arkive.org; Birdlife International.

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