The Asian Openbill Stork, Puttenahalli Lake, 280114

The

ASIAN OPENBILL STORK

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is the newest arrival at

PUttenahalli Lake

to delight us on two levels..one, the rejuvenation of the lake, and two, the appearance of the diffferent birds themselves, making the lake either their rest stop, or their homes.

The Openbill is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae.

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It is greyish white with glossy black wings and tail and the adults have a gap between the arched upper mandible and recurved lower mandible.

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v=Young birds are born without this gap which is thought to be an adaptation that aids in the handling of snails, their main prey.

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Although resident within their range, they make long distance movements in response to weather and food availability.

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The usual foraging habitats are inland wetlands.

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The Asian Openbill feeds mainly on large molluscs, especially Pila species, and they separate the shell from the body of the snail using the tip of the beak. The tip of the lower mandible of the beak is often twisted to the right. This tip is inserted into the opening of the snail and the body is extracted with the bill still under water. An interesting fact: the famous birdwatcher,

Thomas Jerdon

noted that they were able to capture snails even when blindfolded! I still am not sure how they managed to blindfold the storks and let them forage, though!

Here’s a quick video of the two birds, foraging in the water:

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