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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 -

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 -

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.


References and further reading

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

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

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

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 - 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 - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 70

List of South African Birds

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