There are many ways employed by different birds to catch and eat fish, even though the type of prey is similar. Here are a few of the strategies captured about capturing fish.
1. Chinese Chopsticks:
Have you seen Chinese eat rice with their chopsticks? The rice are picked by two sticks and put into the mouth. Just translate the same action with beaks in place of sticks and fish in the place of rice. The painted stork, Ibis, crane, egret, gulls, terns do this. They just pick the fish from the bowl of water (instead of rice-bowl) and throw them into their throats.
In picture: Painted stork resting.
2. Dive and Catch:
- Another successful strategy is to chase fish underwater and grab them. The cormorants are experts and they dive with fish just like otters do.
- The kingfishers on the other hand wait outside water with sun behind them until some quarry comes within striking distance and then dive and catch the meal. The similar strategy is adopted by terns.
3. Swim and Scoop:
This is mostly found in pelicans and ducks that keep swimming around and then they just scoop up their unwary prey.
In picture: Pelican swimming.
4. Pierce and Throw:
The snakebird or the darters also dive along with the fish like cormorants. The feeding strategy is different. Once the cormorant catches the fish it just swallows the fish whole with head first. The darter picks its unfortunate prey, pops its head out of water and throws it into air and keeps the mouth open to catch the falling fish. The fish if lands head first, it is swallowed. If the tail comes first, it is thrown again until the fish does it right!
There are cases where the same species might employ the combination of more than one strategies as well! Observe them closely and identify their predominant strategy.