Johnny Wee encountered the Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans) in Seletar West Link in January 2013 (above) – a first record for Singapore. This stork is resident to India, Sri Lanka to Thailand and Indochina.
Earlier on 9th January, David Li, Conservation Officer with Singapore’s Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, reported being informed by nature guide Tan Eng Chong that up to 1,000 Asian Openbills were sighted flying over the small fishing village of Kuala Gula in Perak, Malaysia. The flock was believed to have moved south from Thailand.
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS wrote on 24th January: “In the past 3-4 weeks bird watchers have been reporting large numbers all the way down the peninsula and as of 22nd January 2013 even as far south as Singapore. Listening to reports I suspect as many as 600-800 birds (very conservative estimate as some individual sightings have exceed 500) are scattered all along the country.
“I spotted some and [above is an image] of two taken [at Telok Intan, Perak] with some tall reeds in the way (offering me closer access). The bird on the left is an immature/subadult from the grey plumage, neck colour, general demeanour and the behaviour (deference to the other bird).
“In literature, last reported in 1936 & 1946 in the peninsular, see Wells 1999 (I am unable to determine other recent reports prior to 2013).”
Wells, D.R., 1999. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. I, Non-passerines. Academic Press, London. 648 pp.