Ardea oscitans Boddaert, 1783, Pondicherry. Monotypic.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: White openbill; French: Bec-ouvert Indien; German: Silberklaffschnabel; Spanish: Picotenaza Asiбtico.
Length 31 in (81 cm), wingspan 58–59 in (147–149 cm). Small pale gray or white stork with black wings and black forked tail. Distinctive “open” bill formed by lower mandible curving down, then back, to meet upper mandible at tip.
Shallow marshes and flooded fields.
Social. In flight soars on thermals, then glides to destination. Call a mournful “hoo-hoo.”
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Mainly apple snails and occasionally other small aquatic animals. Prey located by touch and sight. Snails extracted from shells using sharply pointed lower mandible.
Highly social, nests in large tree colonies with other waterbirds such as herons. Clutch size two to five eggs, incubation 27–30 days, fledging 35–36 days.
Not threatened. The most common Asian stork.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Generally well regarded. Specially protected in Thailand, where colonies are located in the grounds of Buddhist monasteries.
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