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A massive bird, large specimens are thought to reach a height of 152 cm (60 in) and a weight of 9 kg (20 lb).[A wingspan of 3.7 m (12 ft) was accepted by Fisher and Peterson, who ranked the species as having the largest wing-spread of any living bird, and even higher measurements of up to 4.06 m (13.3 ft) have been reported, although no measurement over 3.19 m (10.5 ft) has been verified. It is often credited with the largest spread of any landbird alongside the Andean Condor. More typically, these storks measure 225–287 cm (7.38–9.42 ft) across the wings, which is about a foot less than the average Andean condor wingspan and nearly two feet less than the average of the largest albatrosses and pelicans. Typical weight is 4.5–8 kg (9.9–18 lb), unsusually as low as 4 kg (8.8 lb), and length (from bill to tail) is 120 to 130 cm (47 to 51 in). Females are smaller than males. Bill length can range from 26.4 to 35 cm (10.4 to 14 in).Unlike most storks, the three Leptoptilos species fly with the neck retracted like a heron. The Marabou is unmistakable due to its size, bare head and neck, black back, and white underparts. It has a huge bill, a pink gular sac at its throat, a neck ruff, and black legs and wings. The sexes are alike, but the young bird is browner and has a smaller bill. Full maturity is not reached for up to four years.
The Marabou Stork is found throughout most of tropical Africa. Marabou prefer dry open savannahs near large lakes or rivers. Marabous are often found around fishing villages, slaughterhouses, and rubbish dumps.
Marabou Storks will eat just about any kind of animal, dead or alive. Living prey includes termites, fish, locusts, grasshoppers, army-worm caterpillars, frogs, rodents, crocodile eggs and hatchlings, quelea nestlings, doves, young and adult flamingos, cormorant nestlings, and pelican chicks.