Hundreds of endangered birds appear in Dien Bien
  • | Vietnamnet | July 31, 2012 07:28 PM

Hundreds of strange birds which have appeared in Tan Thanh Ward in the northern mountain province of Dien Bien recently have been confirmed as the Asian openbill stork (Anastomus oscitans).


This is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. This distinctive stork is listed in Vietnam’s Red Book as an extremely rare species.

It is mainly greyish white with glossy black wings and tail and the adults have the beak with a narrow gap formed by the arched upper mandible and recurved lower mandible. Young birds are born without a gap in the bill and this structure is thought to be an adaptation that aids in handling their main prey of snails. Although mostly resident within their range, they make long distance movements in response to weather and food availability.

According to Dien Bien forest rangers, the number of Asian openbill storks is increasing and they have been seen in many communes in Dien Bien district, of Dien Bien province.

In Tan Thanh ward alone, around 500 storks usually perch on 30-year-old pine trees every afternoon.

Local authorities have called on local residents to not kill the migrating storks, which are protected under international law.

The storks inhabit South and Southeast Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam.

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