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Grey Heron washing fish before eating it

on 22nd February 2011

On the morning of 12th February 2011, William Ip was at Singapore’s Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve when he noticed a Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) catching a fish. With his camera at the ready, he was able to document what happened during the next eight minutes or so…

“A Grey Heron picked up a medium size fish (not able to identify the species of the fish) between the head land of Pulau Buloh and the Kelong. It landed on a dead tree branches about 20 metre with the fish.

“Instead of eating the fish immediately as is usually the case, it washed and shook the fish for about 10 times in 8 minutes before it finally swallowed it.

“Since the fish was picked up from the middle of the sea, it should not have any mud or sand contamination.

“The fish lost a piece of meat at the back between the first and second wash. Not sure whether the heron wanted to wash off some dirt after it tasted the fish at the beginning.”

Sequence of images: left to right, top row down.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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