Ramnagar village of Sherpur upazila in Bogura has turned into a sanctuary for Asian open billed stork birds locally known as Shamuk Khol.
Shamuk Khols are seen roaming in the trees of the village. Mother birds are busy handling their babies. On the other hand, father birds are busy making food and nests.
The scientific name of this bird is Anastomus Oscitans. There are two species of Shamuk Khols in the world. Asian Openbill (A. Oscitans) and African Openbill (A. Lamelligerus).
Asian Openbill is an white bird with black back and wings. These birds are seen in most parts of South Asia including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
African Openbill are seen in most parts of Africa. These two species formed the genus Anastomas. The genus is one of the six genera belonging to the genus Ciconidai.
Shamuk Khols are large aquatic birds. Their bills are large and slightly pressed from the side.
The lower part of the bill is curved upwards. As a result, there is a gap between the two parts. Adult birds do not have feathers on their mouth, chin and neck.
Inside the upper bill of the African Openbill, there is a plate-like structure called a lamellae. Asian Openbill however do not have lamellae.
The Forest and Environment Department has put up billboards in Ramnagar area banning bird hunting to keep these birds safe.
The Shamuk Khols have nested in about 40 to 50 trees in the area. As Ramnagar is a village along the Karatoya river, it is very easy for the birds to get food there, that’s why they have nested in the village.