Lesser Adjutant feeding in the mud

“According to Wildlife Conservation Society, `Adjutant storks got their name from British Colonial troops who admired these birds for their stately manner.’ Similar to the military adjutants (officers who provide military or administrative assistance to senior commanding officers) who stand at attention when their senior officer walks in, adjutant storks are also known to stand still for long periods of time.

“I have two pictures of the Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) feeding along Parit Jawa, off Muar in Malaysia. It is interesting to note that this bird plunges its whole beak and face into the mud to search for food (above left). It has strong neck muscles and bone structure to plunge the head and beak at least 50cm into the mud, stalking for fish, frogs and small snakes. This behavior is similar to vultures when they plunge their heads into the carcasses of huge animals; the reason why both of these birds have bald heads. The second photo shows the walking bird with its whole head and beak covered in mud (above right). Talking about mud face mask, the cosmetic industry should take a look at this bird.”

Thong Chow Ngian
Singapore
28th December 2011

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