Ornithologists in the west of Denmark are ecstatic after logging the country’s first ever occurrence of an Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum), a wading bird that is generally only found in south Asia and in China.
The bird, which the Danish Ornithologial Society said was discovered early on Wednesday morning by biologist Frits Rost near Vest Stadil Fjord in West Jutland, is also known as a Grasshopper-Bird or Swallow-Plover.
An insect-eating bird, the Oriental Pratincole is normally seen near water in much warmer climes and normally winters in Pakistan and India, but also farther south and even as far as Australia. According to the literature, it was first sighted in Northern Europe in Britain in 1981, but there have since been individual sightings in Norway and Sweden.
The Oriental Pratincole hit the headlines in 2004 when the Australian Ornithological Society counted 2.8 million of the birds at one place – Eighty Mile Beach in Western Australia – at one time. It appeared the vast migratory flock had been following locusts, upon which they fed.
Danish bird watchers have gathered near Vest Stadil Fjord to spy on an unusual bird that is thousands of kilometres from its habitat and migratory route.
“This is one of the sorts of visit that you just can’t explain,” says Ornithologist Henrik Haaning Nielsen to Politiken.