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.

References and further reading

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

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

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 27

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

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 106

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 408

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

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

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

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

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

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 54

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

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

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 32

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 46

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

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

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

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


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List of South African Birds

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