Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Top News

Tigerfish catches bird: African fish in video snatches swallow mid-flight

See also

"Tigerfish catches bird" photos and videos are trending today, for an obvious reason: it's odd in so many ways. An African fish aka Giant Goliath Tiger Fish was caught on tape snatching a barn swallow out of the air mid-flight in South Africa. Scientists say the video of the tigerfish grabbing a bird in flight is the first confirmed evidence of this behavior in the wild. The results of the published study appear in a scientific journal Friday, according to a Jan. 11 IBTimes news report.

To see a tigerfish catch a bird on video is a bit rare, but apparently in the wild, the practice takes place all the time. As NCBI wrote:

A population of African tigerfish Hydrocynus vittatus from the Schroda Dam, actively prey on barn swallows Hirundo rustica in flight. This behavior was discovered during a radio telemetry study and documented using a motion picture video camera. These results show that an avivorous diet is a part of the feeding biology of H. vittatus, and may occur in other populations."

Nico Smit, director of the Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, says the witnessing of the predatory fish capturing the swallow from the air happened by surprise.

Smit and his group were near the Zimbabwe and Botswana border in Mapungubwe National Park to film the migration patterns of the fabled fish.

Since the '40s, folklore has it that tigerfish species are known for leaping out of the water and capturing birds flying just above the water's surface. And because there has never been a formal record logged of such behavior, he and his group discounted it -- until they got the footage.

While the crew filmed swallows flying gracefully just above the African lake, a large African tigerfish ((Hydrocynus vittatus) leaps out of the water and snatches one, taking it below the water, never to be seen again.

The whole action of jumping and catching the swallow in flight happens so incredibly quickly that after we first saw it, it took all of us a while to really fully comprehend what we had just seen," says Smit, who was no longer a disbeliever in the former fable.

In fact, for the remainder of the day, he and his group witnessed about 20 such similar strikes from the freshwater fish.

"We hope that our findings will really focus the attention on the importance of basic freshwater research, and specifically fish behavior."

The tigerfish catches bird story appears in the Journal of Fish Biology.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you like this article, you can follow the writer by visiting and liking his Facebook page, or subscribe to receive email updates when a new article is published.

Advertisement

News

  • Mt. Everest avalanche
    Disaster strikes Mt. Everest as at least 12 people were killed in an avalanche
    Video
    Watch Video
  • Most Earthlike planet discovered
    The Kepler telescope has discovered the most Earthlike, possibly habitable planet yet
    Space News
  • Easter crosses create debate
    Easter crosses spark a debate of separation of church and state in Ohio
    Headlines
  • Chelsea Clinton is preggers
    Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child
    Headlines
  • Stanley Cup playoffs
    The battle for Lord Stanley's Cup is on, don't miss a minute of playoff action
    Sports
  • Ukraine discussed amongst U.S., E.U., Russia
    The U.S., E.U. and Russia agree on ways to diffuse the tension in Ukraine
    Video
    Watch Video

Related Videos:

  • "Rowdy" Roddy Piper says dead wrestlers visit him from the afterlife
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517853220" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=517853220&autoStart=true"></div>
  • A South Carolina man is fined $525 for not paying for an 89-cent drink refill
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517224742" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=517224742&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Portland dumps 38 million gallons of drinking water after man pees in resevoir
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518199197" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518199197&autoStart=true"></div>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!