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Asian Openbill

A species of stork with the binomial name Anastomus oscitans. This up to 80 centimeters large wading bird is a resident breeder in tropical and subtropical southern Asia, from India and Sri Lanka in the West to Southeast Asia in the East. Adult birds are off-white with black primaries, black rear wing feathers, black scapulars and a black tail. Its legs are red and its bill is dull orange-gray. In the breeding season the off-white plumage changes into white. Their upper and lower jaw do not completely meet, except at the tip, thus leaving a gap, which gave rise to this bird's name. Young birds have a brown tinge to their plumage. The Asian Openbill dwells in paddy fields and marshes, where it feeds mainly on molluscs, frogs and large insects. This broad-winged bird flies with its neck outstretched and makes use of rising currents of warm air to gain height and soar (fig.). They breed in colonies and often occur in large flocks (fig.). Also called Asian Openbill Stork, Open-bill Stork, Open-billed Stork, and White Open-billed Stork, and in Thai known as nok pahk haang. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5), and POSTAGE STAMP.