Malayan Night Heron stalking earthworms

The Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus) hunts earthworms by walking slowly. It may be able to sense the vibrations of the worm as it tunnels through the earth? Once it thinks it sees something, it would look intently at the ground for the slightest movement. Once it sees just the tip of earthworm above the ground, it would seize the earthworm by whatever little part of the body it can grab and expertly pull the wriggly fella straight out of the earth. The earthworm may be left wriggling frantically on the ground for a few seconds before it is swallowed whole, wriggling through the bird’s oesophagus!

“It is amazing how many earthworms it can catch in a short span of time. And we humans don’t even see the worm at all. Maybe the worms poke their body a little above the ground just to breathe? Or to excrete? Or to bring up dirt as it excavates?”

Tan Gim Cheong
Singapore
25th December 2009

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  1. […] black cap that is more or less … The black crest of the Malayan Night Heron photographed by Dr …Bird Ecology Study Group Malayan Night Heron stalking …The Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus) hunts earthworms by walking slowly. … Malayan […]

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