THE Ugliest Creature & Odds and Ends

I have a few photos I want to post but they are a bit random.

Click on the picture to see it larger with all the disgusting details.

Ugliest Creature: I have come across God’s ugliest creation to date. This is the Marabou Stork, or as Jon says it’s commonly called, the “undertaker bird” because of it’s black feathers, the cartoon-like way it carries itself, and penchant for carrion.  It’s a scavenger bird like the vulture, and to say it’s ugly is being kind.  In truth this bird is hideous to look at, and to make matters worse, it’s huge – one of the largest land birds with a wing-span comparable to the condor. The skin on its face looks

A while back, Jon found a dead Marabou Stork at the airstrip. This shows the wingspan.

like rotting flesh, the back of its head

and neck looks bald with fuzzy thin hair growing off it, and down the side of the neck are little clumps of black hair, like an old man with hair growing out of a wart. At the bottom of the long neck is a big red…something…that looks like an internal organ is growing on the outside of its body. It has an inflatable pouch under its neck to hold food, which only adds to the grotesque image when it’s full.  And finally, to top it all off, it has the bad manners of crapping on it’s legs, leaving a white-washed color, to keep it cool. Click on the pictures for an enlargement that will show you the details.

The bird has an inflatable pouch to carry food in. Compare to the first picture where there is no food in the pouch. It expands tremendously.

Yellow Leg Bird with the Funny Name: This bird is small and apart from its bright yellow legs and matching beak, it would blend in well in its environment.  It’s called an “African Wattled Lapwing” (or in some parts, a “Plover”).

The African Wattled Lapwing bird with the bright yellow legs.

Buffalo, Cattle Egrets, and Piapiacs: These three usually live in harmony. The birds sit on top of the Buffalo waiting for the animal to disturb small insects in the grass that the birds can grab. I caught two Cattle Egrets fighting for space on a Buffalo.

Cattle Egrets, Piapiacs, and Buffalo

Tea Plantation: On the drive from Nairobi to Uganda, we drove past an area where tea is grown.  Not only is it good climate in Kenya for tea, but it’s a former British colony, which explains why there are vast tea plantations.  Up close, tea just looks like a thick bush with shiny, waxy green leaves, but when you put thousands of these together, the hillsides look like one massive green hedge with narrow paths cut through them in straight lines.

One of the many tea plantations in Kenya.

Traveling Salesman: All over Uganda and Congo, people transport their goods on bicycles, usually pushing the bike rather than riding it, and loaded as high and wide as it’s possible to get. They carry everything from jerry cans, to pineapples.

A bicyle is loaded down with goods to sell.

A man pushes his bicyle full of pineapples on the long road to market.


  1. Nick 27 June 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    Cool photos Lu. Great light.

  2. Terri (Hardeman) Turner 29 June 2010 at 6:27 am #

    The wings of the most ugly bird are beautiful. Our beach has many areas closed off to protect the snowy plover. I wonder if the two types are related.

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