“This Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) feeding on an dead Rainbow Trout was found at the lower level of the Valley of San Derado de Dota at the Savegre Lodge area in Costa Rica. This place has a number of fresh water ponds fed by fresh running water, that was breeding or farming Rainbow Trouts for the market or the lodges in the area.
“The pond usually has one or two dead fish floating on the surface and when they drift close to the banks the vultures would drag them onto land to feed on them.
“What was interesting was that the vulture, after devouring the meat, would continue to swallow the left overs of skin, bones and the tail. From my observation, it was really tough going as the skin was part of the whole fish, and the tail was still attached to the skin. The tail was quite a big piece, much wider than the vulture’s gape.
“While we may think it futile for the vulture to swallow such a big piece of tail, the bird kept on trying to swallow the tail and the attached skin of the fish. And half way through, the skin slowly slipped out of the vultures throat. At the same time the fish spine was broken off from the head of the fish, but this did not make it any easier for the vulture.
“I could not observe the feeding to the end as time is not on my side.”
10th March 2014
The above images were photographed on 20th February 2014 by KC Tsang during his nature trip to Costa Rica.