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Marabou Stork | Leptoptilos crumeniferus

The Marabou Stork is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Ciconiidae bird family group which includes birds such as Storks.

The description for the Marabou Stork (Latin name Leptoptilos crumeniferus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Leptoptilos crumeniferus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 89 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 626. You will find a picture of the Marabou Stork on page 593.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Marabou Stork between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Marabou Stork is known in Afrikaans as Maraboe.

The Marabou Stork has a height of 1500 cms and weighs around 7000 gms. The head is coloured red while the bill is coloured pink. The Leptoptilos crumeniferus has a pink coloured throat, black legs and a black, blue coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is red

Eyes are brown

Bill is pink

Legs are black

Throat is pink

Back is black, blue

Feeding Habits ...

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Marabou Stork strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

The Leptoptilos crumeniferus attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Marabou Stork eats the eggs of its victim.

This bird is a well known scavenger and rarely kills its own prey.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Marabou Stork uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Marabou Stork is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The Marabou Stork is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The Marabou Stork is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Marabou Stork is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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