Marabou Storks are large wading birds with the male standing 1.5 meters high and weighing up to 9 Kg. They have long legs and a large , long beak used for eating about anything dead or alive. They have a large, usually deflated throat sac that is used for vocalizing.
Marabou storks are found in tropical Africa. They nest in large colonies and in association with other colony nesting species. They usually return to the same nest site year after year. The females lay 2-3 eggs. The birds reach maturity at 4 years and can live 25 years.
Although they are not related to vultures, Marabou storks share many of the same charming characteristics such as their bald often scabby head, their habit of defecating on their own legs, and their appetite for eating carrion. Since access to large carcasses are not as readily available as they once were in their native habitat, they have adapted well to scavanging around villages, fishing camps and garbage dumps. Though their habits and diet may not sound appealing to most people, they serve a very important role in the natural world. Cleaning up decaying matter and preventing the spread of disease is not a job for one that is faint of heart.
There are about 100 Marabou storks in North American zoos. Brevard Zoo is participating in a science-based PMP (Population Management Plan) and is currently exhibiting 2 males.