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The Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara, occurring in both wet and arid habitats, often near human habitation, especially waste tips. It is sometimes called the “undertaker bird,” due to its shape from behind: cloak-like wings and back, skinny white legs, and sometimes, a large white mass of “hair.”
A massive bird, large specimens are thought to reach a height of 150 cm (60 in), a weight of over 9 kg (20 lbs) and have a wingspan of at least 3.5 m (10.5 ft). In the last regard, it shares the distinction of having the largest wingspan of any landbird with the Andean Condor. More typically, these birds measure 120–140 cm (43–55 in), 225–285 cm (89–113 in) across the wings, and weigh 4.5–8 kg (10-18 lbs). Unlike most storks, the three Leptoptilos species fly with the neck retracted like a heron.

The Marabou is unmistakable due to its size, bare head and neck, black back, and white underparts. It has a huge bill, a pink gular sac at its throat, a neck ruff, and black legs and wings. The sexes are alike, but the young bird is browner and has a smaller bill. Full maturity is not reached for up to four years.

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FEATURED in Wildlife of Southern Africa
13 May 2011.

" ’n Vuil, ou man met ’n siek kopvel,’’ is hoe een fotograaf die maraboe (’n soort ooievaar) beskryf het. En ’n mens kan maklik sien hoekom. Die maraboe van Afrika moet beslis een van die wêreld se lelikste voëls wees.
(Vir my is dit ’n geval van MOOI van lelikgeit!)

Sy gesig lyk asof dit aan die brand gesteek is. Die lang, swaar snawel lyk skoon buite verhouding tot die lyf. En aan die keel swaai ’n pienk, vlesige sak. Wat die doel daarvan is, is nie duidelik nie. Geleerdes reken dat dit enigiets van ’n voedselspens tot ’n kussing vir die swaar snawel kan wees. Dit word wel groter in die paartyd en word dus feitlik seker vir vertoon tydens die hofmakery gebruik.

Maar dis wanneer die maraboe vlieg dat hy sy regmatige plek inneem.
Hy is ’n reuse-voël—sowat 1,5 m hoog met ’n vlerkspan van byna 2,5 m—en hy lyk eenvoudig manjifiek wanneer hy op ’n lugstroom sweef, die kop omhoog en die lang pote wat agternasleep.

Hoewel hy ’n lid van die ooievaar-familie is, gedra die maraboe hom bra soos ’n aasvoël. Hy vreet die reste van dooie diere en druk sy kaal kop en nek diep in die karkas in. Hy vreet ook lewende prooi.

Gelukkig vir die maraboe is nie alles aan hom lelik nie. Sy voortreflike wit vere—ook maraboe genoem—was eenmaal baie gewild as versierings aan vroue se hoede en tabberds. In sekere dele van Afrika is die voëls so erg gejag dat hulle onrusbarend uitgedun is.
(Inligting: Mieliestronk)

Canon PowerShot S51S
Kruger Wildtuin, Suid-Afrika.

Tags

marabou stork, maraboe, voël, bird, africa, wild, elizabeth kendall

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Comments

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELover 3 years ago

    Amazing capture Elizabeth and lovely write up.

  • Thanks so much Andrea!;-)

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Karlientjie
    Karlientjieover 3 years ago

    Baie dankie vir die inligting – dit is ’n pragtige foto!:)x

  • Plesier! Dankie baie!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Olitto
    Olittoover 3 years ago

    Mooi foto van hierdie Maraboe.

  • Baie dankie olitto!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Maree  Clarkson
    Maree Clarksonover 3 years ago

    Oh my word Liz, he’s absolutely gorgeous! I’m 1.64m tall (or short!), which means he’s almost going to be staring me in the eye when we meet up! Great capture!

  • Thanks Maree, it was the first time I saw one in real life! So impressive!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • dedmanshootn
    dedmanshootnover 3 years ago

    nice catch! i love these guys, tho here we have their relative the wood stork and that only far away where i grew up and not where i live now alas

  • Thanks so much! Wildlife has so much to enjoy!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesover 3 years ago

    Pragtig geneem!

  • So baie dankie Magriet!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • marella
    marellaabout 3 years ago

  • Thanks so much Marella, this is wonderful recognition! Much appreciated!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Maree  Clarkson
    Maree Clarksonabout 3 years ago

    Wow, congratulations Liz, absolutely great!

  • Thanks for your wonderful support Maree! x

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Graeme Mockler
    Graeme Mocklerover 2 years ago

    Beautiful and unusual capture

  • Many thanks Graeme!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

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