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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Marabou Stork

Afrikaans name: Maraboe

A Marabou Stork sitting down

Marabou Storks are not pretty birds!

Photo © Michael Ransburg - Fotolia.com

Leptoptilos crumeniferus

The Marabou Stork reminds many people of an undertaker! This large bird can often be seen looking for scraps on rubbish dumps or at a carcass amongst the vultures. It mainly scavenges for food but will take other prey, especially birds, if it has the opportunity.

These large birds can stand up to 150 cm tall and weigh around 9 kg. Unverified records indicate that they can have a wingspan of nearly 4 metres which would mean that they have the largest wingspan of any bird. The bill of the Marabou is around 30 cm in length.

Marabou Storks are most commonly seen in small flocks and they breed in a colony as well. They nest in trees and 2 or 3 eggs are laid.

A Marabou Stork portrait

Photo © Michael Ransburg - Fotolia.com

In South Africa they are mainly found in the northern and eastern regions, particularly in Kruger National Park. Beyond our borders they are widely distributed over sub-Saharan Africa.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 41

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1959 - Page: 179

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 179

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 55

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 22

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 25

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 10

Everyone's Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 54

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 36

Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 58

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 76

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 76

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Year Published: 1990 - Page: 18

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 408

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 27

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 42

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 46

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 69

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 70

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 66

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 70

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 79

Wading Birds of the World - Revised edition - Author: Eric and Richard Soothill - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 92

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 38

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 83

List of South African Birds

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