Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu
Name: Marabou Stork
Scientific Name: Leptoptilos Crumeniferus
African Names: Maraboe (Africaans), Nyumbu (Kwangali), Mmakaitšimeletša (Sotho), Svorenyama (Shona), Korongo Mfuko-shingo (Swahili), Ghumba (Tsonga),
Height: 4 to 5 feet (1.15 to 1.5 m). The wing span is close to 9 feet (3 m).
Average Adult Weight: 20 pounds (9 kg)
Life Span: Over 25 years.
Description: The marabou stork's head is nearly bald and scab encrusted. This makes it cleaner for the marabou stock to eat carrion without getting its feathers blood soaked. A pendulous flesh-colored gular sac hangs below the throat when inflated and can be hidden in the white neck ruff when deflated. The marabou stork's back and wings are dark slate-gray with some green iridescence on the wings and pale blue iridescence on the back. The feathers of the neck ruff, chest, and belly are white.
Habitat: The marabou stock is found all through tropical Africa preferably in dry, open savannahs near large lakes or rivers.
Babies: Females lay between 3 to 5 eggs which both parents incubate. The marabou stork chicks hatch in about 29 to 30 days.
Food: Eats just about any animal dead or alive including fish, birds, insects, small reptiles, rodents, termites, locusts, grasshoppers, army-worm caterpillars, frogs, crocodile eggs and hatchlings, quelea nestlings, doves, young and adult flamingos, cormorant nestlings, and pelican chicks.
Habits: Marabou storks allow vultures and other scavengers to open up carcasses and then they are able to reach into the carcass and take out rather large pieces of meat to eat for themselves.
Interesting Facts:Marabou storks hunt in front of advancing fires to catch fleeing prey.
Marabou down (feathers) are used in the making of boas and trim on clothing items such as lingerie and hats. The feathers are also used in the making of fishing lures.
The marabou stork squirts excrement onto its own legs.