Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus)

Latin Etymology: Leptoptilos ("thin feather") javanicus ("of Java")
Adult Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) at Prek Toal, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: N/A 
Weight: 4-5.7kg  /  Length: 87-93cm  /  Wingspan: 200-210cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

A huge prehistoric looking bird that somehow still manages to be the smallest member of it's genus, the Lesser Adjutant is an increasingly scarce species which has Cambodia as one of it's remaining strongholds.  They were the least numerous of the storks we saw at Prek Toal, with around ten sightings, but when they did appear they certainly made strong impressions - often soaring or perched on exposed tree stumps.  They are a highly predatory species, hunting animals up to the size of small mammals, though will occassionally scavenge.  The name adjutant refers to them being percieved as having a stiff, military like gait, based on the original meaning of the word as an officer who acts as a military assistant.

Related Species:
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Ciconidae
Genus: Leptoptilos
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA - Khmer - ត្រដក់តូច ("Little trap")
A scarce, localised resident.
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIP: Reasonable numbers seen at Prek Toal

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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