Milky Stork show opportunistic feeding behaviour

Samson Tan was at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve last month when he encountered Milky Storks (Mycteria cinerea) showing opportunistic feeding behaviour LINK.

A Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) moved to the shallow part of the pond after catching a large fish (above). As it was about to eat the fish, a Milky Stork approached. The stork moved away with its catch (below).

Two other storks also noticed the otter with the fish and approached the latter (below).

As the storks moved closer the otter felt threatened. It let go of the fish and chased the storks away – “like a hunting dog,” according to Samson (below).

One by one the otter chased the storks away (below).

Once the storks were dispersed, the otter returned to the fish, brought it to the other side of the pond and started eating it (below).

Unable to resist the juicy morsels that the otter would leave behind while eating the fish, the storks followed but kept their distance, picking up the pieces as they went along (below).

According to Samson, “This is the first time seeing this opportunistic behavior of the Milky Storks. I’m sure the storks must have noticed that the otters will leave bits and pieces when they tear the fish to smaller bite size before consuming it.”

Samson Tan
Singapore
December 2013

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