The Black Heron Can Turn Into An Umbrella When It Hunts Its Prey

Have you ever seen a bird play peek-a-boo in the wild? Well, it’s sort of like a weird version of peek-a-boo actually.

The motion that a certain bird uses is as if it’s hiding its face and hiding behind its wings, but the goal of this “game” is for the bird to catch its meal.

The Black Heron, otherwise known as the Black Egret, has a very unique style of hunting.

‘Canopy feeding’ is the unique hunting technique used by black herons, and they do this by using their wings to form an umbrella over a surface of water. Doing so supposedly lessens the glare of the sun and helps them see their prey better. Experts liken this to fishers who use polarized sunglasses to be able to see below the surface of the water.

Canopy feeding also creates a controlled area of shade underneath the bird where fish would likely go as a place of security.

Fish likes to hide underneath foliage or debris to escape from predators, but if the black herons are out hunting, they can unknowingly hide underneath the predator itself.

The canopy feeding technique looks low-effort, but it’s highly effective.

Another theory is that canopy feeding can also serve as camouflage. “The heron might also be camouflaging itself so that, from below, all the fish see is a single dark mass,” Bill Shields, a bird behavior specialist, said.

But all these reasons as to why black herons adapted to canopy feeding are still just theories. What do you think?

Watch the video below to see how the black heron hunts its prey.

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