Dive-bombing kingfisher’s underwater hunt caught on camera

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If ever we needed proof that the kingfisher really is king of the fishers, here it is. Wildlife photographer Paul Sawer captured these incredible images of the bird’s hunting skills at a pond in Suffolk in the UK.

For common kingfishers () like this one, small freshwater fish are top of the menu, although insects and small crustaceans will also do. The birds hunt by plunging down into the water after zeroing in on potential prey from an elevated perch.

The fishing pros are helped by handy adaptations like transparent third eyelids, called nictitating membranes (you’ll see them if look closely at the underwater shots), which cover the eyes for protection and visibility as the birds hit the water.

Once a fish is spotted, the bird will dive down at speeds of around 40mph in an aerodynamic arrow shape. When its beak is on the target, the kingfisher will re-emerge from the water and fly back to its tree, where the fish is quickly dispatched with repeated blows against the branch.

Mastering these skills is no easy task, and many kingfisher fledglings will drown or starve if they don’t learn quickly enough.

Image: Paul Sawer, Rex / Inpra
Image: Paul Sawer, Rex / Inpra
Image: Paul Sawer, Rex / Inpra
Image: Paul Sawer, Rex / Inpra
Image: Paul Sawer, Rex / Inpra

To see more of Paul Sawer’s outstanding images please visit his website on the link:

Paul Sawer Wildlife Photography

This article was first published by Earth Touch News on 27 Oct 2015.

 

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Supertrooper

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Lois Bruce

Wow – this is exquisite photography!

Maria Manuela Lopes

Wonderful fotos

Maria Manuela Lopes

Wonderful fotos

Shirley Mayhew

Amazing!

Kate MacRae

How did you set this up? They are diving into a tank I presume?? Amazing images!

Kate MacRae

How did you set this up? They are diving into a tank I presume?? Amazing images!

Sarah Mayhew

Fabulous photos!!

Mary Driscoll

You should enter ASGD's photo contest!! Great images!! 'Share the View' Audubon Society of Greater Denver..Top prize $1000.00

Michael Hughes

Absolutely brilliant

Carol Duke

Astounding captures. Wow!

Georgia Ashby

So enjoyed seeing these!

Doug Micheal Matthew

@Eleanor42094 awesome sight to see

Margaret Ruth Adamson

Incredibale images