Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea): hunting and catching fish in the main lake at Singapore's Japanese Garden
I was in the Japanese Garden photographing a Grey Heron hunting and catching fish. I noticed a Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) perched on stone waiting at the water's edge. The Grey Heron, having successfully caught and eaten a couple of large fish eventually flew off. Only then did the Purple Heron fly down to the water for its turn to fish. I was then able to photograph a great sequence of images as it stalked and speared a large fish, manoeuvred it with its mandibles into a head first down position so it could be easily swallowed. The Purple Heron seemed timid compared with the Grey and wary of it and people.
Herons hunt and catch fish is by impaling large ones on one or both mandibles of their beak or grabbing smaller fish between the upper and lower mandibles. The image sequence below right shows the heron manipulating the speared fish from the lower mandible to clamp in both mandibles before swallowing it.