The Marabou stork
Leptoptilos crumeniferus

Planning a birding Safari at the end your next business trip to Africa...? Get ready to meet Marabou stork, the undertaker bird, right on the busy streets of Kampala!

The Marabou stork is a macabre carrion-eating stork about 1.5m tall with a large expandable air-sac below the neck,and black-and-white feather pattern reminiscent of an undertaker's suit. These birds are common residents of both urban and rural environments.

The Marabou stork is a fearless, widespread, successful, flocking scavenger.

The marabou stork has a scientific name which has great meaning in relation to his structure; “leptoptilos crumeniferus” is interpreted as “slender wing with throat pouch”.

In this section of the Birding Safari Guide we share with you information about Marabou stork birds in Uganda in order to make your Bird watching tour to Africa even more fascinating.

You will find information about:

Where to find the Marabou stork in Uganda

You will find singles to gatherings of hundreds common and widespread in a range of habitats from city rubbish dumps lake shores and also at predator kills.

I have seen the biggest number of Marabou storks in my life at the Kiteezi landfill where Kampala City's Municipal solid waste is dumped.

I also see many nesting on trees within Kampala city especially near the Parliament, Sheraton Hotel, Serena Hotel and a the constitutional square.


You need to avoid parking and passing under trees where these birds are nesting along the streets of Kampala because you risk ruining your demenour when going for an urgent business meeting!!!!

How you will know that you've seen a Marabou stork

You will see a huge stork about 152cm with grey black wings and white underparts.

The Marabou stork has a naked head and neck or has reddish showing scabby black spots at close range and a downy white neck ruff.

These Uganda birds have two inflatable air sacs: a bright red one at the base of the neck, and a pink pendulous ballon which is variable in size and hangs below the neck.

Her bill is massive and horn-coloured.

The legs are dark grey but often appear white as a splattered with excrement.

Sexes are alike but the female is slightly smaller.

The brooding adult has light greyish wings, white-edged wing coverts and a fluffier undertail. The non brooding adults are darker grey.

The immature birds are duller with brown and not grey wings.

Marabou storks are massive in flight, soaring on broad wings with neck retracted , but will make short flights when the neck is extended.

Interesting Facts about Marabou storks

Marabou storks are silent when away from the nest, but breeding birds give a wide range of bleating, grunting and squealing noises, as well as bill clattering.

The Marabou storks are prolific enough to be considered pests in some areas as they congregate near villages to raid rubbish dumps.

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