Grey-headed Fish-eagle canopy feeding

posted in: Feeding strategy, Raptors | 0

After his sixth attempt, Johnny Wee finally managed to document a Grey-headed Fish-eagle (Icthyophaga ichthyaetus) capturing a fish by moving along in shallow water at Pandan River with its wings held forward. This is a typical posture adopted by some birds in their fascinating hunting strategy known as canopy feeding.

Grey-headed Fish-eagle in canopy feeding mode.

Common among herons LINK and egrets LINK, these birds hold their wings forward or over their head to form a canopy when fishing in shallow water. It is possible that the resulting shade attracts fish looking for a place to hide. The shade also cuts off the glare from the sun, thus allowing the bird to easily spot the fish.

Grey-headed Fish-Eagle with its catch.

Also, the bird may be camouflaging itself so that the fish sees darkness from below instead of a bird stalking for food/fish LINK.

Johnny Wee
Singapore
26th May 2019

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