Kenya Birds

Marabou Stork


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Marabou Stork

Photograph(s) Copyright ęP&H HARRIS

Leptoptilos crumeniferus

Other Names

    French Marabout d'Afrique, Marabout africain   German Marabu   Spanish Marab˙ Africano   Swedish Maraboustork   Dutch Afrikaanse Maraboe   Italian Marab¨

World: Africa, common and widespread S of 15°N except in the SW of the continent.

Kenya: Found just about everywhere, however it is notably absent from the coast S of Malindi and is less common in low rainfall areas.

This is a huge, unmissable and unmistakable stork. Anywhere there are people you will find groups of Marabou. They are scavengers and can be found around refuse dumps as well as with vultures around carcasses. However they don't rely solely on scavenging, they will catch small rodents and reptiles and have even been known to pick swallows out of the air! Although they have to class as one of the uglier (if not ugliest) of Kenyan birds, airborne they are superb flyers, soaring at high altitude across the plains.

Interestingly Marabou's were scarce across East Africa in the early part of the 20th century. Their present abundance can be explained by the increase in the human population and the consequent rise in the amount of human waste. An increase in the number of food processing plants (battery farms, abattoirs, fish processing factories etc) and refuse tips has undoubtedly contributed to their success.

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