Marabou stork escapes from Rome's Biopark

Giant African bird seen circling over Rome

A Marabou stork has escaped from Rome's Bioparco and over the past few days has been sighted flying over the city's Prati district, according to a report in Rome daily Il Messaggero.

It appears the bird escaped a number of days ago from the zoo where the storks are kept in an open aviary. The enclosure is fenced in but not covered and zoo keepers normally trim the birds' wing feathers to prevent them from flying away. However this time it seems the feathers grew just long enough to allow the stork to take flight.

Apparently it has happened in the past, according to Il Messaggero, but each time the storks were recovered immediately from the confines of Villa Borghese.

Associated with the wetlands, plains and rubbish tips of sub-Saharan Africa, the Marabou is a massive bird. It can grow up to 150 cm tall and its wingspan can reach well over three metres – making it one of the largest in the world and similar to a condor or albatross.

The distinctive bird has black wings and back, with thin white legs, long beak and sometimes fuzzy "hair" around its head.

Have you seen it flying around Rome?