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Marabou Stork - Beauty is not Everything

Marabou Stork - Beauty is not Everything
Photo Information
Copyright: Sheriff Wilbury (soccer) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 587 W: 0 N: 655] (2557)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-12-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 20D, Sigma 50-500 F/4-6.3 EX HSM
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): 50-60 points (chapter 5), Birds of South Africa 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-05-13 5:27
Viewed: 6139
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 66
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) - Beauty is not everything

It was an extremely hot day at Shingwedzi Camp in the Kruger National Park. I was out in the morning and returned for brunch. I fell asleep in the midle of the day when temperatures were around 40 degrees Celcius!

Late afternoon temperatures were still well in the thirties and I was surprised to see a large group of Marabou Storks perched at the top of the trees in the summer sun.

I saw this one bird in the tree and the sun was in an excellent position at the time, so I took out my camera and took a couple of shots and then suddenly his wings started to flap and he was taking off. This frame was taken as he started to move and unbeknownst to me, I had a well framed picture of the stork who was flying off to the North Westerly side of the camp. Perhaps he was taking this opportunity to have a late afternoon forage or ......

Marabou Stork

The Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara, occurring in both wet and arid habitats, often near human habitation, especially waste tips.

It is a huge bird, 150cm in length, and its 3.2 m (10.5 ft) wingspan means that it shares the distinction of having the largest wingspan of any landbird with the Andean Condor. 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 sack 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.

Like most storks, the Marabou is gregarious and a colonial breeder. In the African dry season (when food is more readily available as the pools shrink) it builds a tree nest in which two or three eggs are laid.

It also resembles other storks in that it is not very vocal, but indulges in bill-rattling courtship displays. The throat sack is also used to make various noises at that time.

The Marabou Stork is a frequent scavenger, and the naked head and neck are adaptations to this, as it is with the vultures with which the stork often feeds. In both cases, a feathered head would become rapidly clotted with blood and other substances when the bird's head was inside a large corpse, and the bare head is easier to keep clean.

This large and powerful bird will also feed on small mammals, reptiles, and similar prey.


pablominto, jcoowanitwong, aido, jeanpaul, rozaanbeukes, elefantino, SunToucher, dew77, jchemas, Janice, Cricket, joggie_k, valy67, ramthakur, observer, thor68, firelord, limier, loot, lovenature has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To SunToucher: Dirty Spot above wingssoccer 1 05-15 07:13
To pablominto: Marabou picsoccer 1 05-13 06:20
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Sheriff,
Nice image of this stork!
I like the way you capture the take-off action, with movement blur in the feathers...
Well done at this focal length, I suppose you had a tripod? Otherwise it is extraordinary...
Pablo -

Hello Sheriff,
Interesting shot of this Marabou stork about to leap from top of tree. A moment well observed. Very good POV and composition. TFS

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-05-13 8:36]
  • [2]

Hi Sheriff,
Great timing to catch him just as he is about to leave :-) Excellent colours, detail is just a little soft, possibly a combination of the low shutter speed and the long focal length. Nice work though!

Hello Sheriff
C'est une très belle présentation que tu nous envoies. le cadrage est joli mais l'image est un peu floue. C'est la première fois que je vois un marabou surle site.
Merci et au revoir.....JP

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2006-05-13 12:39]
  • [2]

Very good capture Sherrif, you did well even in hard conditions. A higher ISO like 400 would have give you a faster shutter speed to prevent the little movement blur. Thanks.


Hi Sheriff,
Excellent timing to get this pose as he is starting to launch himself off. I agrre that is a bit soft, but Composition and framing in the portrait mode look great.

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-05-14 5:30]
  • [2]

Hi Sheriff,
Good caputre of the exact moment of taking off. The perch and the legs form a rare effect. Well composed too.
José M.

Hello Sheriff,

I love the softness with the movement blur in the feathers. It gives Character to the take-off action of the Marabou Stork. Great clarity, color scheme and POV. TFS


Nice moment freeze!
Good colors and sky.
More focus would be appreciate, but the pose is really good.

Hi Sheriff,
This is indead a great action photo. I do agree with some of the critique you've received and also understand the difficulties you may have had shooting this photo. Did you notice that you have a rather large dirt spot just above the wings?

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-05-15 8:08]
  • [2]

Hello Sheriff!
Wonderful capture.Moment you caught is great.I liked POV,framing and composition a lot.TFS...:-)

  • Great 
  • jchemas Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 553 W: 30 N: 749] (3396)
  • [2006-05-15 12:49]
  • [2]

Great capture of this stork Sheriff
Excellent colors and great composition.
Love the POV and BG.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-05-16 6:45]
  • [2]

Hi Sheriff, your 'beauty' is a very good acrobat dancer I think! Amazing stand up there on the branch. A little soft, but a very well captured shot. Well done,

Great capture of this stork Sheriff
Excellent colors and great composition.

  • Great 
  • DOBIS Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 126 W: 16 N: 170] (632)
  • [2006-05-16 10:53]
  • [2]

Hi Sheriff,
you are completely right: Beauty is not everything. Marabou is really curious bird!
Great capture of the moment.
T and M

Hello Sheriff,

As you told me, the blue sky makes a big difference! You capture a wonderful bird at a wonderful moment! The take off is like my Heron :-) Nice colors, pov, and composition. The picture is a little bit soft (I know the difficulty for action picture) and I tried to improve the sharpness within a workshop. I hope you'll like it!


Hi Sheriff

Great shot, great timing!

Hi Sheriff, this is a great shot ! Focus is a bit soft but that's not a problem for me. Very nice colors, wonderful blue sky, excellent composition and great pose of the bird, your timing was perfect. Well done !

Excellent snap shot, Sheriff! Nobody ought to fuss over focus here; it is the moment that is important.

A wee spot of luck involved in catching the stork as it started to fly.
You have got the background clear and not too bright which has allowed the natural colours of the bird to come out well on the photo.

  • Great 
  • osse Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 955 W: 0 N: 89] (7805)
  • [2006-05-20 7:31]

Hi Sheriff
Good composition. Good pov, sharpnes, colours and note.
Well done



  • Great 
  • chiliu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1457 W: 0 N: 1176] (6526)
  • [2006-05-21 22:55]

Hi Sheriff,
Great action shot! Great POV and well composed.
Thanks for sharing!

vous avez su saisir cet instant a la perfection.

Very difficult shot Sheriff
I like the time that you dicide to shot this theme and you did it well.
Your POV is excellent.

  • Great 
  • OzBY Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 183 W: 2 N: 351] (1355)
  • [2006-05-26 6:16]

Good capture of this Marabou stork.


  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2006-05-27 12:39]
  • [2]

Hi Sheriff
I am just trying to catch up on some long overdue backlog so I am visiting your earlier postings to deliver some well deserved smileys.
You did well to capture this marabou at the exact moment of take-off and you captured some lovely movement in the wings. The composition is great and the vertical frame was well chosen to optimise the view.
I took a look throughout your portfolio and I noticed with most of your postings that the files were rather small. This specific photo of the marabou is only 49 kb. The result is that you loose a tremendous amount of quality and one can clearly observe some posterising in the photo. A posterised image shows sudden changes in shading that should normally show a gradually change. One can observe this in the banded rings in the blue sky and it is even more enhanced in Michel’s (pilonm) workshop where it started to show signs of pixelisation as well. Fortunately you need not be satisfied with this kind of quality as there is a very easy fix for the problem.
Since you also use Photoshop Elements 2.0 you can get the exact details on how to overcome the situation on this page. Here I did a step-by-step explanation to Scott Roland, on how to save a file to the maximum size allowed on TN using PS Elements. Remember, you are allowed to safe your file at up to 800x800 pixels and 200kb. I hope this will be of some help to you and that your future postings will benefit from this advice. Looking forward to see the change.
Friendly regards

Hi Sheriff,

I really like this picture. Nice action and nice composition. Well done.


I like the motion blur.
very well composed.
Rich in saturated colors.
Good POV

Hallo Sheriff,

Very beautiful picture! Great composition and color. Also a good exposure with clearly visible details in shadows and highlights. But what I like the most is the fact that you captured the very moment when the Marabou Stork took off, exactly the moment before it let the branch go, making it look like an extension of it. Perfect timing with great results! TFS!


Hello Sheriff
Wow, this Marabou Stork look so primitive.
Nice capture as he is taking off in flight from his branch.
A wee bit out of focus but still a really great photo....much better
than I could do. :) TFS Janice

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-02-08 3:00]

Hi Sheriff,
a lovely shot of this stork. Well captured pose and the action is so dramatic. Just like diving into something.
Well composed with light fully utilised to give the best capture.


Ciao Sheriff. Superb capture for the imponent bird in action!


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