As you know I love awkward birds – herons especially are fantastic. But I’m pretty sure that this one beats out the heron for the title of most awkward bird in the world. This is the marabou stork and isn’t the prettiest or most delicate bird but I love it.
As with many of the animals I like this bird has the reputation of being a bit of a scavenger taking carcasses, small rodents (dead or alive), insects and even crocodile eggs for its dinner. The stork is also known as the “undertaker bird” because it has quite a sinister appearance. I can just imagine this one walking ahead of a horse drawn coffin with a large black top-hat.
Looks can be deceptive though – once this bird gets in the air it has an amazing grace and beauty. It has a massive wing span of at least 10 feet and is the largest landbird in the world that is able to fly. Watching it take off is fabulous – it is so big and awkward it needs to take a real run up to flight. And the noise it makes is just amazing – you can hear the “fwump fwump fwump” of the wings as it soars away.
It might be awkward, and not very pretty, but it is fantastic …