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Over 10,000 Asian Openbill Storks Migrate to Northern Thailand

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PHAYAO – Over 10,000 Asian open-bill storks make their migration to Thailand creating a wonderful scene at paddy fields in the northern Phayao province.

The migratory birds make their stop in Tha Wangthong town annually around January to February, but this year their number has increased to over 10,000, said villagers.

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Their arrival is also good news for farmers as the birds feed on pests such as grasshoppers and apple snails that have damaged their rice plants.

Farmers believe Asian openbill storks arrived in large numbers this year because of they can feed on abundant food undisturbed by humans.

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The Asian openbill or Asian openbill stork (Anastomus oscitans) is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae.

This distinctive stork is found mainly in Southeast Asia. It is grayish white with glossy black wings and tail and the adults have a gap between the arched upper mandible and recurved lower mandible.

The Asian Openbill is one of six species of storks which have bred in Thailand, and the only one still found in any numbers. Like most of the country’s waterbirds, the storks have suffered from habitat losses, hunting, and disturbance.

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