Ugly Bird That Lives on Rubbish Tips Hatches A Chick

Story ByMichael Leidig, Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

This ugly looking stork which makes it home at landfill sites where it scavenges for food has hatched an egg in its cage at a German zoo.

The Marabou stork is frequently a rival with vultures where the two often compete over corpses, although in recent years the storks are increasingly seen on rubbish tips where access to grub appears to be easier.

The creature’s bald head has adapted to its lifestyle which mainly involves feeding on corpses. A feathered head, when placed inside a corpse, would quickly become matted and covered with blood, and a bald head is easier to keep clean.

CEN/Matthias Besant

The creature will much on almost any animal matter it can swallow including faeces, and during the breeding season when there is a greater demand for food, will take small live prey including other baby birds as well as fish, frogs insects and eggs.

The bird’s feathers are popular for use on clothing and hats, and also when making fishing bait, and although not endangered, the pair seen here have just had the chick in captivity at Frankfurt zoo.

It was reportedly the first egg for the female ‘Mara’ which she laid in the sand, and the nest was then made by her partner ‘Bu’ who apparently has more experience with what to do with an egg.

CEN/Matthias Besant

A spokesman for the zoo said: “He quickly built a temporary nest and began to hatch the egg. He seemed to sense that his partner was unprepared, on this occasion the male his share of the work leaving the nest only to drink briefly and feed before returning.”

This type of stork is not uncommon in European zoos, although young are relatively rare.

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