CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Ugly stork seeks feathered friend

PUBLISHED: 12:28 14 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:34 14 March 2014

The marabou stork / Photo: Marek R. Swadzba [shutterstock]

The marabou stork / Photo: Marek R. Swadzba [shutterstock]

Archant

A giant stork, whose species is believed to have the largest wingspan in the world, is looking for a mate after the loss of its long-term female partner.

The marabou stork in BirdlandThe marabou stork in Birdland

The massive male marabou stork lives at Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water.

Sadly he recently lost his 17-year-old female partner, and now keepers are keen to find him a new girlfriend.

Also known as the ‘undertaker bird’ due to its slow walk, cloak-like wings, thin white legs and mass of white hair-like feathers, the marabou stork come from sub-Saharan Africa.

Marabou storks feed mainly on carrion in the wild but can eat 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.

“They’re certainly not the most attractive of birds; they mostly eat rotting meat and they do have the rather unfortunate habit of urinating down their own legs to keep themselves cool,” said Alistair Keen, Head Keeper.

“However I’m sure none of this would put off another marabou and we’re hoping to find him a suitable suitor soon,” he added.

A wingspan of three metres, or close to 12 feet, has been recorded, making the marabou stork a rival in size to the Andean condor and there are reports of birds measuring in excess of four metres – although this has not been independently verified.

Increasingly, marabous have become dependent on human waste and hundreds of the huge birds can be found around African dumps or waiting for a hand out in urban areas.

Marabous eating human refuse have been seen to devour virtually anything that they can swallow, including shoes and pieces of metal.

The stork isn’t entirely without company, however. With its combination of woodland, riverside and gardens, Birdland features more than 500 birds, ranging from England’s only colony of king penguins to colourful parrots and hornbills in a mix of free-flying and aviary displays.

Birdland is located on Rissington Road, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucester, GL54 2BN

Admission: £8.95 Adults / £5.95 Child (3-15) / Senior £7.95/ Family £28.00 (2+2)

For more information visit: www.birdland.co.uk

0 comments

More from Out & about

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

One hundred years ago this month the guns fell silent, marking the end of what was to become known as The Great War. Stephen Roberts remembers the impact the war had on Cotswold lives from 1914-1918

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Being a region so steeped in history, there are plenty of locations in the Cotswolds with spooky stories from over the years. From bloody executions, eerie apparitions and headless horsemen, we pick 23 of the most haunted locations throughout the Cotswolds to visit if you dare

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New bat cams installed at Woodchester Mansion help study protected breeds while also becoming an added attraction for visitors. Jo Barber looks at the work of one of the UK’s foremost bat experts and the mansion’s valued volunteers

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

From an all-boy, all boarding prep school for just 30 pupils, to the quietly trailblazing yet still traditional school it is today – here is a snapshot of Beaudesert over its 110-year history

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Following a record year for ‘visitor giving’ donations via local businesses, applications are invited to fund conservation projects

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

If a bit of English eccentricity is your thing, spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the delightful follies of Faringdon

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

Visitors to the village of Bourton-on-the-Water can now escape the well-trodden tourist trail at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s beautiful Greystones nature reserve and its newly opened visitor centre

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search