Strange birds have migrated to Muong Te district. They have long and thin legs, long and pointed beaks, grey feathers and broad wingspread and weigh from 1.2-2.2kg.
The storks were new to the northern area. The local people called them "strange birds" because they hadn't seen them before.
Local people have trapped these birds as food despite the local government’s ban, reasoning that the birds destroy their crop.
Prof. Pham Binh Quyen, Secretary General of the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE), says that these are Asian openbill stork (Anastomus oscitans).
“The number of storks had decreased sharply over the past few years, putting them on the verge of extinction. This species is listed as endangered in the Vietnam Red Book because of its high threat of extinction,” says Prof. Quyen.
“We call for relevant bodies and the local administration to seriously ban local people from hunting these birds or making harmful impacts on their living area,” he adds.
The storks inhabit South and Southeast Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
In Vietnam the storks are known under the name 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 south-western region.
The Asian openbill stork is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It is mainly greyish white with glossy black wings and tail and the adults have the beak with a narrow gap formed by the arched upper mandible and recurved lower mandible. Young birds are born without a gap in the bill and this structure is thought to be an adaptation that aids them handle snails. Although mostly resident within their range, they make long distance movements in response to weather and food availability. Linh Nga