Marabou stork

Marabou stork


Sub-Saharan Africa




Wetlands and prairies

Latin Name

Leptoptilos crumeniferus

IUCN conservation status

These members of the stork family make a striking impression with their plucked heads and long sharp beaks.

Not too Fussy about What's on The Menu

These scavengers will hunt live prey such as crustaceans, fish, birds and mammals. They can have a devastating effect on a colony of flamingos, their largest prey. They also take advantage of landfills to feed on waste material. Fortunately, they don't have very refined tastes!

Equipped to Clean up the African Savannah!

Well-equipped for the task, marabous, like all scavengers, play an essential ecological role in clearing the environment of decaying carcasses. Their plucked head prevents these birds from soiling their plumage when diving into carcasses. The powerful acids in its digestive system even break down bones!

United in Numbers to Better Dominate

Competition for prey can be fierce: jackals, vultures and other scavengers all try to take advantage of any opportunity. With an enviable wingspan (nearly 2.5 m), marabous tend to congregate to keep competitors at bay. At night, there can be up to a thousand of them in a single dormitory.

Taking Advantage of the Presence of Humans

A real blessing for their populations in the wild, they're not sought after by hunters or poachers because of their appearance and feeding habits. Moreover, they adapt rather well to the presence of humans, especially around fishing ports where they collect fish scraps.

Other animals from Africa