Tigerfish jump to catch birds in flight, which was recently documented for the first time making this an historic find. While people have said they’ve seen tigerfish jump out of the water and catch a bird in flight, this is the first time it’s ever documented in a video, according to the International Business Times on Jan. 10.
As you can see in the video above, the tigerfish doesn’t just poke its head out of the water with a jumping motion, the fish actually clears the water a few feet when it grabs the swallow, which is a fast moving bird. One would think this would be an extremely hard thing to do, but the fish seems to have incredible accuracy when going for the bird.
The video was shot by a team working with Nico Smit, director of the Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. He shares the team's reaction by saying it could be best described as “pure joy” because they realized they had just witnessed and documented something very rare and extraordinary.
While this video shows a tigerfish catch a swallow, the researchers there that day saw this happen about 20 times. They saw about 20 different events of tigerfish catching swallows. The fish did this from different depths within the water. Each tigerfish cleared the water up to three feet when going after a bird.
Smit’s heard reports of people witnessing the African tigerfish jumping out of the water up to three feet to catch their flying dinners. Reports have dated back to the 1940s. It wasn’t until this point in time that a study on the migration pattern in birds by Smit and his team that they actually witnessed this themselves and were able to document it with images.
In 2012 another fish species was observed getting out of the water and coming on the land to grab a pigeon. That species was the catfish. These catfish were seen on the Tran River in France. They would get the birds on shore and drag them into the water to devour.