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

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

Wild Issue 45 - Author: - Published: 2018 - Page: 78

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 408

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

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

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

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

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

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BirdLife South Africa


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List of South African Birds

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