Endangered Asian openbill storks, which are listed as especially rare in Vietnam’s Red Book, have been spotted in paddies in Ban Qua and Ban Vuoc communes in Bat Xat, the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai.
An Asian openbill stork. (Source: dpsbirders.net)
In recent years, flocks of Asian openbill storks have appeared in the northern mountainous provinces of Ha Nam, Ninh Binh, Dien Bien and Lai Chau.
Scientifically called Anastomus Oscitans, the storks inhabit South and Southeast Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
In Vietnam, they are known as co nhan (swallow) or co oc (snail storks) since they mainly eat snails. They also eat frogs, crabs, large insects and other small living things. They are mostly seen in the country’s southwestern region.
According to the Vietnam Association for the Conservation of Nature and Environment, the number of storks has decreased sharply over the past few years, putting them on the verge of extinction.
The heavy, gentle storks are an easy target as they seek food in the rice fields, it said.