Stork with massive wings and penchant for fighting arrives in Birdland
A stork with one of the largest wingspans in the world - and a rather spooky nickname - has landed in Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water.
The marabou stork comes from sub-Saharan Africa and is also known as the ‘undertaker bird’ due to its slow walk, cloak-like wings, thin white legs and mass of white hair-like feathers.
With na recorded wingspan of 3.7 metres (12 feet), it rivals the Andean condor for the biggest wings.
The new arrival, who is aged 17, is female and it is hoped she will pair up with the park’s resident male.
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However keepers are taking their time with the introductions as the birds, which are more than 1.5 metres tall, do have a reputation for fighting when they first meet.
“They really are one of the planet’s most extraordinary looking birds and we’re delighted to have a female to join our existing male,” said Birdland’s Simon Blackwell.
“If all goes to plan and they do hit it off they would build a small nest of sticks and lay two to three white eggs which would be incubated for 30 days,” he added.
Marabou storks feed mainly on carrion in the wild but can take adult flamingos, as well as fish and insects. Birdland’s male has even been seen catching large trout from the river which runs through its aviary.
Increasingly, marabous have become dependent on human garbage and hundreds of the huge birds can be found around African dumps or waiting for a hand out in urban areas.
Marabous eating human garbage have been seen to devour virtually anything that they can swallow, including shoes and pieces of metal.