Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Adjutants

If there was one group of birds that stand out in my memory and signify the essence of Assam it would have to be the Adjutant Storks commonly called Bortokola in Assamese. There are two similar looking species the Greater Adjutant Sork (GAS) (Leptoptilos dubius) and the Lesser Adjutant Stork (LAS) (Leptoptilos javanicus). The Greater Adjutant Stork is bigger than the Lesser Adjutant Stork.

Both birds are basically waders and are found in wetland areas. In the summer they are often seen roaming around in the paddy fields just before they are tilled. The GAS is distinguished from the LAS by the existence of a neck pouch which may hidden in some cases. The GAS is a scavenger but also preys on frogs etc. The LAS is primarily a hunter but may also scavenge.

These birds were very common during my childhood but have sadly declined significantly in recent years. Habitat loss, hunting and better sanitation have been suggested for their decline.

These birds have been called ugly but to me they are symbols of this state of Assam and their decline and reduction to scavenging in garbage dumps is a sad reflection of the state of our environment.


  1. Lovely captures of this endangered species...Thomas

  2. Lovely photo

  3. rupjyotirgu06@gmail.comMarch 14, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    realy great.....