Often called the “undertaker” bird, the Marabou Stork is one of the ugliest birds you’ll come across in Africa.
Strangely, this was my first wildlife encounter when I landed in Kenya for a month long safari in eastern Africa. These birds were found in parks and trees around the capital, usually just standing there, as if waiting for something to die so they could swoop down.
Kind of intimidating at first, after a few days and seeing them fly and hop around on the ground, I started to like them a bit more. They’re no beauties but just like vultures, they play an important role in the cycle of life in Africa. For the most part they are harmless birds, attracted to leftovers at animal kills. But if you do run across a bunch of them in a city, be a little wary, as they have been known to get aggressive if they’ve become habituated and accustomed to feeding off of human garbage and scraps.