and the answer is ...

... a Marabou Stork. (see previous post for the bird in question)

Leptoptilos crumeniferus to be precise. Thanks Anonymous for the tip-off! Yes ampulets, I did think he looked like some mad professor- it's the ruff, I tell you. Positively Dickensian. And to be honest fortycalibernap, when I saw him from a distance, I thought of a secretary bird as well, especially with the long-legged stalking. Evelyn: as per request, detailed information on the Marabou Stork follows in the post. = )

My latin is non-existent, but crumeniferus is such an apt word to describe this fellow - such a rich word to roll around the tongue (try it: "crumeniferus". yummy). A quick search on the net turns up crumen for "purse", and either ferus for "fierce", or inferus for "southern" or "below". I'll stick with "crummy fierce" as a way of remembering this bird.

To quote the Smithsonian National Zoological Park site:
"To the casual observer the massive Marabou Stork with its balding, scabby head and pendulous pink air sac may appear to be one of the ugliest creatures in the world. If this same observer were to notice the Marabou's fondness for carrion and its habit of squirting excrement onto its own legs he or she would probably consider the original opinion to be justified. It takes a real bird lover to see past all of this stork's bizarre adornments to recognize the scruffy charm underneath." Yes ... well ... right. Irvine Welsh (of Trainspotting fame) has a book called Marabou Stork Nightmares, which tells you something already.

Here's a few more links to information about the bird in question. In case you're wondering where we saw him, it was here. It's quite a lovely place, and perhaps I am a bit harsh on the poor bird, who's probably a tenant, putting up in temporary accomodations until he moves on to something better.



fortycalibernap said…
so much for the bio undergrad. . . :(

. . . and to think I consider myself a Murakami afficionado, to boot.


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