MARABOU FEATHERS
FLY TYING FEATHERS
FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
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reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.

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MARABOU FLY TYING FEATHERS
Marabou feathers got their name from the African Marabou Stork. Marabou Stork feathers were used by fly tyers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries until they were
almost hunted to extinction. Marabou Stork is now on the CITES list and most modern day marabou feathers are substituted with turkey or chickens feathers.

Marabou feathers are desired for their breathing action in the water. While being pulled or jerked through the water they compress and when stopped they will fluff back out. Marabou feathers absorb water and are ideal for wet flies when quick descent rates are desired.

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Strung and Dyed Marabou Feathers
Marabou feathers are often strung together
and sold in packages. Sometime they might
be sold loose in plastic bags by weight or
can be found on complete bird skins.

Marabou is available at any fly tying shop for reasonable prices. They are fluffy down feathers and can be dyed in a wide variety of colors. woolly buggers, nymphs and large streamers commonly use marabou feathers. Marabou can be used for tails, body, wings, legs, ect...

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Selection of different marabou feathers

The length of marabou feathers can range between 1- 8 inches. The size of marabou depends on where it is located on the bird. Turkey marabou feathers are larger than chicken marabou feathers.

Types of common marabou names and terms include blood quills, woolly bugger marabou, extra-select marabou and chickabou. The names and terms are not strict definitions, but will help in the selection process of most commercially available marabou.

BLOOD QUILLS
Blood quills are shorter than the plume or stem feathers. The stems are thick and can not be wrapped for collars. The tips line up when stroked back and blood quills are often used for tails, but will serve well for most other applications where smaller marabou is desired. The average length of blood quill feathers are 1-3 inches.

MARABOU PLUMES
Marabou plumes would be in the category between blood quills and woolly bugger stem quills. The stems are longer than blood quills and shorter than woolly bugger marabou. The average length of marabou plume feathers are 4-6 inches.

WOOLLY BUGGER MARABOU
Woolly bugger marabou as the name implies, is selected for the qualities desired when tying a woolly bugger. It is often referred to as "Stem Marabou". The stem is longer in length
and the barbs are denser than the plume feathers. The stem section towards the upper half of the feather can be used for hackle applications.

EXTRA-SELECT MARABOU
These are selected for the longest stems and barbs. Can be wrapped for use as collars. The bottom section of the stem is thick and brittle, but towards the tip it is thinner and can be manipulated when wrapped around the hook shank.

CHICKABOU MARABOU
Chickabou could be a trademark name. These smaller chicken marabou feathers are also referred to as "Mini Marabou Feathers". You can find chickabou in grizzly or other patterns which are not found on turkeys.

Marabou Feather Color Selection
Dyed Marabou Feathers

Marabou is dyed a wide range of colors from earth tones to the most bright and vivid. Most fly tying shops keep a good selection of colors in stock.

Commercial turkeys and chickens have been bred for fast growth cycles and the feathers don't mature to their full potential. Most commercial marabou feathers are average quality, but you can find what are termed as extra-select grades of feathers. Select marabou will have longer length and better appearance, not that the fish are concerned. Premium quality marabou will carry a higher price tag.

A tip when tying marabou on a fly is wet your fingers and stroke the marabou feather to compress the fibers. Another tip is don't use too much marabou the fly or it will be clunky in the water and can't breathe properly. On the other hand, if not enough marabou is used, the fly won't have the intended profile when in the water. It is not rocket science and beginners should develop a feel quickly for the right amounts to use when tying marabou on a fly.

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Woolly Bugger


Marabou Bug
Used a bodkin to pick at the marabou on
the underside of this fly giving the appearance
of gills

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Peacock Marabou

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Ringneck Pheasant Marabou

You can find marabou feathers on other birds, each with their own characteristics, like on peacocks which are more wispy with an artistic quality. A ringneck pheasant skin will contain marabou feathers similar in size to chickens.

When buying complete bird skins, the skin should be stretched flat and scrapped clean of any residue.

Commercially available bird skins and feathers bought in a fly tying shop will be clean and have uniform color when dyed. If acquiring bird skins and feathers from other sources then precautions should to be taken to avoid insects or other pests that could infest your fly tying supplies.

FEATHER CARE AND STORAGE
Some general advice about cleaning and storage of feathers.

ANATOMY OF A FEATHER
Description and parts of a feather.

BUYING AND SELECTING FEATHERS
What to look for when buying feathers. As a beginner we bought a lot of worthless and damaged feathers. This page will help in the selection of good quality feathers.
 

MATCHING FEATHERS
How to match and pair feathers when tying feather wings on a fly.

FLY TYING FEATHERS:
AM-GOLD PHEASANT
ARGUS BODY FEATHERS
ARGUS HEN QUILL FEATHERS
ARGUS PRIMARY TAIL FEATHERS
ARGUS SECONDARY WING
BANKSIAN COCKATOO
BARRED WOOD DUCK FEATHERS
BIOTS (GOOSE / TURKEY)
BLUE EARED PHEASANT
BLUE EDGED MANTLE BODY
BRONZE MALLARD FEATHERS
BUSTARD FLORICAN FEATHERS
BUSTARD KORI FEATHERS

CDC FEATHERS

CHATTERER
CHUKAR SKINS
COQ DE LEON
COTINGA
CRANE FEATHERS
EMU FEATHERS
GADWALL DUCK FLANK
GOLDEN PHEASANT SKINS
GOLDEN PHEASANT CREST
GOLDEN PHEASANT TAIL
GOLDEN PHEASANT TIPPETS
GOOSE SHOULDER FEATHERS
GRAY PEACOCK SINGLE EYES
GUINEA FOWL FEATHERS
HUNGARIAN PARTRIDGE
INDIAN CROW
JAY
JUNGLE COCK
KINGFISHER
LADY AMHERST CENTER TAIL
LADY AMHERST TIPPETS
LEMON DUCK FEATHERS
MACAW TAIL FEATHERS
MALAY PEACOCK SINGLE EYE
MALLARD SIDE FEATHERS
MALLARD WINGS
OSTRICH HERL
PARROT FEATHERS
PEACOCK FEATHERS
PEACOCK HERL
PEACOCK NECK FEATHERS
PEACOCK QUILL FEATHERS
PEACOCK SWORD FEATHERS
RINGNECK PHEASANT
SCARLET MACAW
SILVER PHEASANT
STARLING SKIN
SWAN FEATHERS
TEAL FEATHERS
TURKEY FEATHERS

WOOD DUCK FEATHERS

HACKLE FEATHERS
Hackle feathers are a complete subject in themselves and these pages will sort through some of the confusion.

FLY TYING INSTRUCTION
http://www.flytyinginstruction.com
Fly tying equipment and materials
reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.

FLY TYING FEATHERS
MARABOU FEATHERS