Striated Heron Defending its Fishing Ground

on 15th September 2011

“A resident Striated Heron [also known as Little Heron (Butorides striatus)] was stalking for food on 21st August 2011 when it caught sight of a migratory Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) flying past (above left). The kingfisher decided to perch on a vertical pole that was a short distance away from the heron (above right).

“The Striated Heron did not seem happy with the kingfisher intruding its fishing territory. Its crest was raised and it stared towards the kingfisher. Its initial defensive attempt was a feeble display of subtly-raised wings, which had no effect on the kingfisher. The heron then walked towards the pole, but showed restraint as it turned back after walking past the pole. This time, the kingfisher was alert and wary of the heron. But it remained perched (above).

“Failing to dislodge the kingfisher, the heron seemed to be walking back towards the water. However, it was probably a deception technique as the heron suddenly made an about turn and put up a more aggressive display. This time, its prominent spread of wings caused sufficient distress to the kingfisher for it to be dislodged from its perch. In a sudden burst of action, the heron darted upwards and appeared to be chasing after the fleeing kingfisher (above). Just as suddenly as it began, the intense action ended abruptly. The heron applied full brakes to land on the ground and the pursuit was halted.

“Interestingly, there was a House Crow (Corvus splendens) in the vicinity (seen in the foreground), which the heron showed no interest (above-left). Perhaps the heron recognised the kingfisher as its direct competitor for live fish, but not the crow. The crow was scavenging and a dead fish could be seen in front of it. The crow was watching the action as it unfolded.”

Kwong Wai Chong
9th September 2011

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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.

Other posts by YC Wee

4 responses

    1. yup, quite a number of migrants had been here since August, and the raptors are already on the move as well. I must had seen a number of migratory species this season already.

  1. From my apartment, just saw a Brown Shrike at 3.45 pm under an overcast sky. Most likely it’s the same bird that has been appearing regularly, perching on the usually location at the barbed wire above the perimeter fence of my condo. This is the 4th season since I first noticed it.

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