Transportation of a fishing tool by a Black-crowned Night Heron

Transportation of a fishing tool by a Black-crowned Night Heron

The Saigon Botanical Gardens in Ho Chi Minh City, Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh Province, Vietnam, has a large pond with Goldfish Carassius auratus. The pond surrounds a wooded island that hosts several species of wild, piscivorous birds, including Black-crowned Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax. On 14th November 2019, BPC observed a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron retrieving an 8-cm-long twig, then standing on the shore of the island and casting the twig onto the surface of the water several times to use it as a lure (plate 408; Combs and Rйglade 2022). When the twig began to drift beyond striking range, the heron retrieved it with its beak and dropped it back onto the surface of the pond at a closer distance. The heron struck once at a large fish, without success. After several minutes, the heron re-entered the water, retrieved the stick, and carried it in its beak along the shore to a second site, about 10 m away, where it resumed bait-fishing with the lure (plate 409). This portion of the shore was concealed by leafy, overhanging branches. Once the heron had positioned itself behind the foliage, it resumed bait-fishing, but it was impossible to obtain clear photographs of the heron’s activity from any angle.

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