The Marabou stork is a large bird that walks in the water. It lives in Africa south of the Sahara, in both wet and dry habitats. It often lives near the rubbish dump.
Large marabou can grow to a height of 152cm and weigh about 9 kg. It has a wingspan of 3.7m It has the largest wingspread amongst living bird. The female marabou stork is smaller compared to the male marabou stork. Its huge bill is about 26.4 to 35cm in length. It has a bare head, a neck ruff, black back and a pair of skinny legs. Its throat skin is pink. As you can see from the description, it is not a pretty bird!
Female stork and male stork are alike. The baby stork is browner and of course has a smaller bill compared to their mum’s and dad’s bill. It will be full grown when it is 4 years old. The marabou stork is friendly and it lives together in a large group and nests at a particular location. It will build a tree nest and lay 2 or 3 eggs in the nest. Like all other storks, Marabou stork is a quiet stork. But they do make particular noises through their throat sac.
The Marabou storks are happy rubbish collector. They feed on dead animals, scraps and poo. They basically eat almost any animal as long as they can swallow them up. Sometimes they even eat other birds like small sparrow, pigeons, doves, pelican and even flamingos.
During the breeding season, the adults storks will feed more on smaller live prey because their baby storks will only eat this kind of food. For example the baby storks will be fed with fish, frogs, insects, eggs, small mammals and reptiles like crocodile babies and even the crocodile eggs. Although they seem to be very disgusting, but they perform a very important job by eating up the dead animals. They are more and more dependent on human garbage. Therefore you can easily find them near African rubbish dumps. In this rubbish area some of them even swallow up things like shoes and metal. These marabou stork which eat human garbage can be quite aggressive when they don’t get what they want.
Marabou’s feathers are used in clothings, hats and artificial fishing bait.