Day: April 21, 2010

the kiwi travel writer and the birdman

Mansur Poh is a passionate man. Obsessed say some, crazy say others: however, all agree he is a bird man of absolute dedication and Malaysia’s lesser adjutant storks are fortunate to have him. He has been dubbed ”Protector of the lesser adjutant stork” – a fitting title for someone who has devoted over 10 years to unpaid study of this threatened species.

So, what is the lesser adjutant? It’s a stork with a two-metre wingspan, is 120-cm tall, stands with a hunched appearance and has a massive wedged shaped bill. They have an un-feathered head, sparse feathers on their neck and flies with its neck retracted – more like a heron than a stork. When flying, to me they look like a cross between a child’s picture of a bird and a pterodactyl, and have been called ugly by some. It is resident from India across SE Asia to Cambodia, and is one of the world’s endangered birds – with only some 250 left in Malaysia and a world population of less than 5,000.

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