BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON – DIVERSITY OF FISH PREY

“After numerous nights of monitoring the Black-crowned Night Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) along the canal near my home, a summary of its fish prey reveals that it consumes at least seven species, all of which are adapted to estuarine/tidal conditions. Apart from the catfish and rabbitfish previously reported, other fish species include:

Green Mollies (Poecilia sphenops) (above),

Crescent Perch (Terapon jarbua) (above),

Mullet (family Mugilidae) (above),

Green Chromide (Etroplus suratensis) (above),

and Mozambique Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) (above).

“Additional details on other piscivorous (fish-eating) avifauna that frequent this same stretch of canal may be found in Leong (2012). The importance of maintaining optimal water cleanliness and quality in this, and many other concretised ‘rivers’ around Singapore cannot be overemphasised.”

REFERENCE
Leong, T. M., 2012. Observations of piscivorous avifauna along Siglap Canal, Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 5: 291–307.

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
Singapore
19th December 2012

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One Response

  1. Excellent pictures, thanks. I’ve seen this bird often but never been able to see exactly what it consumes. I also had no idea such big fish could be found in our canals – where was this taken?

    The egrets and herons I used to sight fishing at the Geylang canal (before it closed) all seemed to land very small catches. There is a small canal near the Tampines Eco-green that is also visited regularly by egrets and herons, and I have looked at the water but not seen any sizeable fish. Most of the canals are also filthy, some with huge oil slicks too – yet there are birds eating the fish from them. It makes me wonder how healthy that can be, if the water is so polluted.

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