Reader “John in Ethiopia” sends an amazing photo of amazing birds, maribou storks (Leptoptilos crumeniferus), denizens of sub-Saharan Africa. His notes:
Marabou storks at the fish market in Awasa, a town in the Rift Valley in Ethiopia, 200 miles south of Addis. It makes me think of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. They are truly hideous birds, but I suspect very well adapted!
And, indeed, Professor CC found a Bosch bird with an striking resemblance: look at the birds on the left both above and below:
I’m adding a YouTube video of a maribou stork in Palmitos Park in the Canary Islands. The caption is below:
The Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae and it has the largest wingspread of any living bird. Sometimes he is called the “Undertaker Bird” due to its shape from behind: cloak like wings and back, skinny white legs and he walks so funny. In this video he is doing his perform air acrobatics in free flight in the bird`s show in Palmitos Park in Gran Canarias. It´s over +38 degrees this day and the other birds have tuff time to make it, but it´s not a problem for the Undertaker. It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara in both wet and arid habitats, often near human habitation, especially waste tips. See the video and meet Mr Undertaker the Marabou Stork.
Now I’m not sure about the wingspan, as I thought the Andean Condor had the world’s largest. Also, I wonder why, if this bird can fly, it doesn’t fly away. Either its feathers are clipped to prevent long flights, or it simply hangs around for the free noms.