Asian Openbills

In the past few months, since January 2020, I have been seeing Asian Openbills (Anastomus oscitans) in the city. Initially at the fringe, and now in the heart of the city. At first it was 3-5 birds, now flocks of 20-40 (below). I see them fly over my urban home in the morning or sitting on a tree near a pond/lake.

Numbers have not diminished with the migration season coming to an end but instead have enhanced. There may be 50-100 birds (or more) scattered over the city and additional numbers at the wetland (ex-mining pools) city fringes.

Above shows the back view of 3 different birds to show the tail that is often hidden by the wings at rest. I often see a sheen of glossy green over the tail and wing plumage, particularly yesterday. Most sources describe adult plumage as greyish-white with black flight feathers and tail. Hancock et al (2010) notes that before the onset of breeding the black feathers take on an iridescent purplish green. Note the feathers of these bird, especially the two on the right that have caught the sun are not totally black.


James Hancock, James A. Kushlan, M. Philip Kahl, Alan Harris, David Quinn. Storks, Ibises and Spoonbills of the World. Helm Identification Guides. 2010.

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia                                                                                                                                                                    Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia                                                                                                                                                        Habitat: Urban environment

Date: 21st May 2020

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED


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