Status Least Concern
Size Up to 1.5 metres, males are usually slightly larger.
Weight 4 - 8.9 kg
Gestation 29-31 days
Young 2 – 3 eggs per clutch
Life span Up to 25 years in the wild, longer in captivity
The marabou stork is a scavenger and will eat carrion (dead animals), as well as feeding on scraps, such as fish, discarded by humans. As well as being a scavenger, the marabou stork will also eat live animals, such as insects, lizards, frogs, fish, snakes, rats, mice and even other birds.
The marabou stork lives in sub-saharan Africa where it can be found living in a wide variety of habitats including savannahs, grasslands, swamps, river banks and is often seen around human settlements such as fishing villages.
Breeding takes place in the dry season when the marabou stork can be found in large numbers, from 20-60 breeding pairs but may number up to several thousand!
The breeding pair will build a nest in trees or on cliff-ledges or buildings, when the nest is completed the female will lay 2-3 eggs which are incubated for 29-31 days. Both parents will help to feed the chicks; young marabou storks leave the nest (fledge) from 3-4 months.
The marabou stork is a predator within its habitat, however it is thought that other birds may predate on marabou stork chicks whilst in the nest.
The marabou stork is not threatened and it is thought that the population is actually increasing due to its varied diet and its ability to exploit rubbish dumped by humans. This stork is not usually an attractive target for hunters; however it has been known to be traded at markets in Nigeria.
The marabou stork is also sometimes referred to as the undertaker bird, due to its cloaked appearance when viewed from behind as well as its long, skinny legs and tufts of white hair.
The marabou stork deposits a mixture of urine and faeces over its legs, making them appear white when they are actually dark! It is thought that this may be to help the stork cool down; as when the moisture evaporates from the excrement the blood vessels underneath will be cooled, helping the stork keep cool.
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