The Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus, is a large wading bird with an unsual appearance, commonly found in tropical areas of Africa. (2, 3). Marabous have a long tan beak, long legs, a white chest of feathers and wings covered with dark grey or black feathers. Adults can weigh up to 5-6 kg (12-14lbs) and can have a wingspan as large as 4 m (12 feet)(2).Marabou storks have a visible red throat air sac on its neck that it can inflate and deflate. Another sac can be found on the “hindneck” or behind the head and is hidden by feathers. (2).Marabou storks breed in colonies, each individual nest is made of sticks. Nests are built near a reliable food source and can be found built on high trees (10-30m), on rock faces or in towns and villages (1). Marabou storks are scavengers that feed in groups and eat a wide variety of food (carrion, fish, bugs, frogs, snakes, mice and rats). Their habitat ranges from savannas to riverbanks or lakeshores (1) however their eating habits have led them into urban areas where they can access garbage and waste from Abattoirs (slaughterhouses) and fishing villages where they can access fish and food waste from humans (1, 3, 4).
- 1.Birdlife International. Marabou stork: Leptoptilos crumeniferus Factsheet. http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3841. Accessed 16/04/2012.
- 2.Kahl, M.P. The Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus. Comparative Ethology of the Ciconiidae. Part 1. Behaviour, Vol. 27, No. 1/2 (1966), pp. 76-106 http://www.jstor.org/stable/4533152. Accessed: 16/04/2012 .
- 3.Pomeroy, D.E. Seasonality of Marabou Storks Leptoptilos Crumeniferus in Eastern Africa. Ibis, Volume 120, Issue 3, pages 313–321, July 1978.
- 4.Pomeroy, D.E. Birds as scavengers of refuse in Uganda. Ibis,Volume 117, Issue 1, pages 69–81, January 1975.