Marabou Stork

Marabou Stork

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Credit: MILLARD H. SHARP/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) adult sunning, warming its wings. One of the largest flying birds in the world, the Marabou Stork has a wingspan of over 10 feet, sharing with the Andean Condor the distinction of having the largest wingspan of any landbird. It is considered very ugly, what with its bald, spotted, scabby head, massive bill, and a habit of squirting excrement onto its own legs. Nevertheless, these storks were heavily hunted for the pure white, long, elegant and fluffy feathers of their underbody and neck; these feathers were used to trim garments and to make feather boas. They have a dark slate gray upper body with iridescent blues and greens. Both a scavenger and a hunter, they will eat just about any and everything. They will hunt for termites, lizards, and the chicks of other birds. They will also scavenge carrion left by other animals and, when they can get it, scraps from meat processing plants and the remains from where fishermen clean their catch. They are not picky eaters. Marabou Storks are found throughout tropical Africa in such countries as Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Africa. Jacksonville Zoo, Florida.

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Keywords: animal, animal behavior, aves, bird, ciconiidae, ciconiiformes, fauna, jacksonville zoo wildlife, leptoptilos, leptoptilos crumeniferus, marabou stork, mycteria, mycteria ibis, stork, sunning, warming wings, wing, wings spread, wingspread, yellow billed stork, yellow-billed stork

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