Most talked about as one of the ugly 5 and often ridiculed for their dirty looks, the Marabou Stork is a fascinating species of stork we find in Southern Africa!
They are often found pitching up on their own or in small flocks but under the right circumstances you find them in flocks of a few hundred as I found here outside the not so dusty town of Maun in March. I counted over 300 on this occasion that hung around for a few weeks, however back in the 1980’s just a few hundred kilometers to the east, there were reports of up to 3000 in one flock. I wonder if anyone else has ever seen so many or at least a few hundred?
They are spread out across many protected areas of Southern Africa, but it is in Botswana I have seen them the most. In fact this could be the single most important stronghold for the species. Whether scavenging on a rhino carcass or taking advantage of a termite erruption or perhaps even grubbing through the Maun landfill in large flocks, this stork is still doing well and Robert’s birds puts their global population at 100 000 – 300 000!
And of all the interesting collective nouns out there, I reckon this is a contender for one of the best. An undertaker’s convention of marabou storks is very applicable. I often see them as dirty old men patrolling around with their hands behind their back! It is definitely a species well associated with death!
The following few images were taken outside Maun at a pan called Samedupi where the storks often gather in their hundreds after good rains!