Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea): hunting and catching fish in the main lake at Singapore's Japanese Garden
I spent five mornings at the Japanese Garden observing and photographing Herons and Kingfishers in the lakes. The most frequent visitor was the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), less timid than the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) allowing me to get close and was the easiest bird to photograph with the little heron being a close second.
I photographed several different behaviours of herons:
Perched on the rocks near the water's edge;
Perched on the bank, in classical fashion, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting fish;
Shading the water from strong sunlight with its wings and then stabbing at fish;
Flying and landing in the water to fish.
Grey Herons catch fish is by impaling / spearing large ones on one or both mandibles of their beak or by grabbing smaller fish between the upper and lower mandibles. The images in the galleries below show both techniques used by the Heron to catch its prey.
When the heron spears very large fish it appears to wait until the fish is dead before manipulating it to swallow it down. One of the images shows its long slender neck expanded as the fish slides down its throat head first.