Grey Heron washing fish before eating it

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.

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