A large flock of rare snakebirds was recently discovered at a tourist site in the southern Vietnamese province of Dong Nai.
The birds have been nesting on the islets dotting Long An Lake in the Buu Long Tourist Area, according to Le Viet Dung, deputy head of the provincial forest protection department.
The snakebirds living on the islets number about 500, Dung estimated, adding that it is one of the biggest flocks of snakebirds to have been discovered in Vietnam.
This is also the first time the bird species has been sighted in Dong Nai Province.
“We are also working on a plan to better preserve the rare bird species and will soon submit the plan to higher authorities for discussion,” Dung elaborated.
Competent authorities are carrying out necessary measures to ensure the birds’ habitat is protected and that the flock is able to sustain itself, particularly by ensuring there are enough fish in the lake for them to feed on.
Snakebirds, also referred to as darters, are tropical water birds which belong to the Anhingidae family.
The term ‘snakebird’ comes from its long, thin neck, which has a snake-like appearance when its body is submerged or when mated pairs twist it during bonding displays.
The snakebird’s preferred habitats are freshwater lakes, rivers, marshes, swamps, estuaries, and mangrove forests.
There are four snakebird species, three of which are quite common while the fourth is rarer and classified as near-threatened by the IUCN.