Marabou Stork: Whitewashing

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Marabou Stork with a 10ft wingspan. Here’s a gross and racist fact: its name comes from “marabout,” which is an Arabic term that means a Muslim religious leader or preacher. Later, the French adopted the word to mean “ugly, misshapen old man or priest,” which shows you what the French thought of the aesthetic appeal of imams.


That bulging throat sac that resembles a large hairy testicle is for thermoregulation, and its bald head hints at its diet – like a vulture, this stork eats mainly carrion.

Notice its white legs? The Marabou Stork poops down its own legs, Mikael Ekvall-style (who I deeply respect, by the way:…). This is called “whitewashing” which changes the color of their normally black legs to white. No, it’s not incontinence, nor is it some weird mating habit – this is another way for the bird to cool itself down.

So next time you are hot and stuffy, you know what to do