Marabou is a soft webby feather usually located on the belly of the bird. It is an important feather for fly tying but is also a desired feather for the fashion industry in creating boas, for hat plumage, and edge lining of garments. Originally collected from Marabou Storks of Africa, marabou is collected almost exclusively from Turkeys today. The white marabou is dyed to a number of different colors. Barred or Grizzly Marabou is collected from Grizzly Roosters and Chickabou comes from other chickens. Both, in turn, are dyed to a number of colors also. Distributors usually tie the feathers together in a strung line.

Types of Marabou

  • Blood Marabou: A belly feather with medium length barbs and small, thin stems taken from Turkeys, usually 1"-3" long. Barbs tend to be straight with less fluffiness and more even in length.
  • Marabou Plumes: A feather with a defined central stem and long barbs, usually 4"-7" long. Barbs can be uneven and fluffy. Most are from Turkeys
  • Woolly Bugger Marabou: These are usually Marabou Plumes that have been selected for dense long barbules going up near the tip of the barb.
  • Chickabou (Mini-Marabou): Small marabou feathers taken from hens and roosters along the breast, knees, and thighs. Usually barred and dyed to many different colors. Grizzly Marabou is technically Chickabou taken from a Grizzly Rooster. Finer and more delicate than Turkey Marabou. Particularly useful for Matuku Flies.
  Plume Marabou                  Blood Marabou                  Woolly Bugger Marabou  
  Grizzly Marabou   aka:Chickabou

Marabou Colors

There are generally 10-11 Dyed colors of Marabou that most flies utilize. These are:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Claret
  • Light Olive
  • Olive
  • Purple
  • Rusty Brown
  • Sculpin Olive
  • Yellow Olive
  • White

Color Chart for Marabou

                   Marabou Color Chart

Primary Marabou Providers

  • Hareline : Hareline markets strung Blood Marabou in about 36 colors. They also market Plume marabou as "Extra-select" in 22 colors and smaller plumes called "Mini-Marabou" in 10 colors. Barred (Grizzly) Marabou is available in 10 colors. Wooly Bugger Marabou is available in 23 colors.
  • Nature's Spirit: Nature's Spirit processes all of it's marabou with preen oil for preservation and additional sheen. They market a plume marabou with 18 colors.count.
  • Wapsi: This is where Marabou got it's start. Lacey Gee, the original owner of Wapsi, was also a Turkey farmer and noticed that White Turkey had a very similar feather. Wapsi started dyeing these feathers in 1946 and continues today.
© 2023 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.