Photographer's Note

The Marabou Sstork is found in sub-Saharan Africa and is an immediately recognisable species. The most distinctive feature of the Marabou is the nearly bald, spotted, scab-encrusted head, with its huge meat-cleaver bill. Dark, wispy hair-like feathers are scattered sparsely across the head, neck, and nape. The bare skin of the head and neck is predominantly pink to magenta in color, with spots of darker pigmentation concentrating around the face and extending down into the upper portion of the horn-colored bill. In breeding season the back of the neck turns a beautiful pale blue-green, and the spots on the face and forehead become encrusted with dried blood.

A large male Marabou Stork, standing up to 1.5 m tall and weighing nearly 9 kg, is one of the largest flying birds in the world. Their wingspan approaches 2.9 m. Females are generally smaller.

The Marabou’s back and wings are dark slate-gray with a touch of green iridescence on the wings and pale blue iridescence on the back. The feathers of the neck ruff, chest and belly are white. The scientific name Leptoptilos, Lepto = fine and ptilo = feather, refers to the long, pure-white, elegant, fluffy undertail-coverts that were once in great demand by the millinery trade.


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Additional Photos by Richard Cooper Knight (cooperknights) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 32 W: 3 N: 46] (394)
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