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Marabou stork

Leptoptilos crumenifer

Marabou stork pair at Paignton Zoo
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Birds
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Ciconiidae

You can spot our pair of marabou stork in their aviary next to the main lake.

Marabou storks live in grassy plains, swampy areas, rivers with sandbanks and shores of lakes across southern and Central Africa.

These sizeable birds are scavengers and feed mainly on carrion in the wild, but also eat frogs, fish, insects and eggs.

Interesting facts!

  • The marabou stork is not active for much of the day, often resting with its bill cushioned on its fleshy pouch. The purpose of this throat pouch is not certain… it may be for display, for cooling or it may be for supporting the beak.
  • These birds have an interesting way of cooling down in the heat: they poop on their legs! This is sometimes why their legs appear white in colour.
  • Marabou storks are monogamous and form strong pair bonds that last for life. Their nest is a platform of sticks built in trees or on cliffs. They lay 2 to 3 eggs that are incubated for around 30 days.


Marabou storks are not endangered at present but do face threats of habitat loss and hunting for traditional medicine.