AppearanceA massive bird, large specimens are thought to reach a height of 152 cm and a weight of 9 kg . .
BehaviorLike most storks, the Marabou is gregarious and a colonial breeder. In the African dry season it builds a tree nest in which two or three eggs are laid.
It also resembles other storks in that it is not very vocal, but indulges in bill-rattling courtship displays. The throat sac is also used to make various noises at that time.
The Marabou Stork is a frequent scavenger, and the naked head and neck are adaptations to this, as it is with the vultures with which the stork often feeds. In both cases, a feathered head would become rapidly clotted with blood and other substances when the bird's head was inside a large corpse, and the bare head is easier to keep clean.
This large and powerful bird eats mainly carrion, scraps and faeces, but will also take fish, frogs, insects, eggs, small mammals and reptiles such as crocodile hatchlings and eggs. It occasionally eats other birds including quelea nestlings, pigeons, doves, pelican and cormorant chicks, and even flamingos. During the breeding season, adults scale back on carrion and take mostly small, live prey since nestlings need this kind of food to survive. They may sometimes wash food in water to remove soil. When feeding on carrion, Marabou frequently follow vultures, which are better equipped with hooked bills for tearing through carrion meat, and may various wait for the vultures to cast aside a piece, steal a piece of meat directly from the vulture or wait until the vultures are done. Increasingly, Marabous have been become dependent on human garbage and hundreds of the huge birds can be found in an African dump or waiting for a hand out in urban areas. Marabous eating human garbage have been seen to devour virtually anything that they can swallow, including shoes and pieces of metal. Marabous have been known to lash out when refused food and have even killed children on a few occasions when harassed.
A number of endoparasites have been identified in wild Marabous including ''Cheilospirura'', ''Echinura'' and ''Acuaria'' nematodes, ''Amoebotaenia sphenoides'' and ''Dicrocoelium hospes'' .
UsesMarabou down is frequently used in the trimming of various items of clothing and hats, as well as fishing lures.
Cultural*''Marabou'' by Mariza Koch and Nikos Kavvadias
⤷ Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh
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