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Interesting facts about the 'undertaker bird' roaming Nairobi streets [Video]

The trending bird was captured walking in the pavements of Nairobi CBD scaring everyone in its path.

A marabou stork in Nairobi

If you live in Nairobi or passed by the CBD it is most likely that you have seen spotted a marabou stork that has been strolling in the streets.

The trending bird was captured over the weekend walking along the pavements of businesses along Moi Avenue before it was again captured waking next to a young man who seemed to be getting along with the giant bird.

Unlike most birds, this particular one had rather peculiar behaviour and seemed unbothered by the attention it was attracting on the streets. Its bravery saw people cautiously walking out of its way, which is very unlike Kenyans to be afraid of birds.


The marabou stork has cemented its place as part of the Nairobi culture and in this article, we tell you about sightings of this giant bird that you wouldn’t have believed, were they not reported by the media.

In October 2020, one of the marabou storks that camp outside Nyayo Stadium crashed into the windscreen of a car along Uhuru Highway.

One adult marabou stork weighs between 4kg and 8kg and thus the crash damaged the windshield and injured the driver.

The accident became fodder for debate about whether an accident of that nature is covered by Kenya’s insurers.

The scavenger bird is also the reason Captain Samuel Gitau gave up his 10-year career as a pilot.


In a past interview with the Standard, Gitau said that one late afternoon as he was flying one of the KWS fixed aircraft, he crashed into the giant bird and passed out for some time before he was able to regain control and land at a nearby airstrip.

The impact of the crash caused an injury in the pilot’s eye, with doctors advising him to change careers because they had tried their best to save the vital organ.

The Marabou stork also has a bad reputation among Kenyan football fans who link the giant bird to a bad omen.

Many times the birds have landed onto the pitch during football matches at Nyayo Stadium and City Stadium.


Anyone who has come close to the marabou stork can attest that it is ugly and scary.

Fun/not so fun facts about marabou storks

With time, they become so used to human presence that they do not run away even at the slightest provocation.

The marabou stork has been dubbed “the undertaker bird” because of its appearance. When seen from behind, the marabou stork’s back and wings appear cloak-like.

Its legs are skinny and white and sometimes there is a white tuft of what appears to be hair on its head.


The marabou is a meat lover who feasts on the carcasses, scraps of dead animals and waste.

Marabou storks are attracted to grass fires. They march in front of the advancing fire grabbing animals that are fleeing.

The Marabou stork has a long, reddish pouch hanging from its neck. This pouch is used in courtship rituals. It also connects directly to the left nostril and acts as a resonator allowing the bird to produce a guttural croaking. While usually silent, the Marabou Stork will also emit a sound caused by beak clacking if it feels threatened.


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