Tiger Fish Jumps Out of Water and Catches Flying Birds

By Anupum Pant

It is normal for birds to swoop down and catch fish from water. But, since 1940s, stories about a meter-long-demonic-African-fish leaping out of water to catch birds in mid-air have been told. They were only stories; no one had seen the actual occurrence…Until now.

Recently, a video of it happening was captured by a team of researchers from North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, and was posted on YouTube. As expected, the video went viral. Who wouldn’t love watching a fish-eating a bird! I put it on repeat and must have watched it 10 times already.

In the video you see a Tiger fish (Hydrocynus vittatus – literally means a ‘spotted water dog’) that lives in African fresh waters. It is one of the largest predators there and lives with a larger cousin, the Giant Tiger fish (Hydrocynus goliath). The Tiger fish can measure as much as 1 meter in length. On the other hand, giant tiger fish (not seen here) can reach up to 1.5 meters in length.

Taking shots around the South African lake in the Mapungubwe National Park, they were not really expecting to record a video in which a fish would fly out of the water and catch a swallow. Rather they were there to study migration and habitat at the lake. The team was surprised to see this. The director said:

“The whole action of jumping and catching the swallow in flight happens so incredibly quickly that after we first saw it, it took all of us a while to really fully comprehend what we had just seen.”

Given that a fish in water, or even human beings for that matter, cannot see beyond a specific window (The Underwater Optical Man-hole), this fish does an amazing job of tracking and striking a bird in mid-flight with so much precision. Cheers for that Mr. Tiger Fish.

Agreed the video isn’t clear, but it the first of its kind. Soon, I hope, we’ll see HD, NatGeo quality videos. Watch it on video here: [Video]

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