birdwatchersdigest.com • JANUARY/FEBRUARY’ 17 • BIRD WATCHER’SDIGEST 110
neck and body erect, and the
‘crouched’ posture, where the
bird’s neck and body are parallel to the ground.”
In the former position, the
bird is clearly using its height
to gain a better field of vision,
to localize prey, and to offer
a vigilant, antagonistic posture to other species, possibly
competitors. The latter position allows the bird to appear
more cryptic and to situate its
bill closer to the intended prey.
Apparently, the larger herons,
night-herons, and bitterns favor
the latter technique.
Note the use of the word
“spear” in the above quote. I
am again not convinced that
critical, too, when considering
the depth of the water they for-
age in. Finally, one also has to
think of the type of food they
are chasing, the environmental
conditions at the time of the
hunt, and even the other species
of birds nearby.
“The commonest feeding
technique, which is used by all
species, consists of the birds
standing motionless at the
water’s edge, or in shallow water,
waiting until prey comes close
enough for the bird to spear it
with its bill,” wrote Martinez-Vilalta and Motis, “In this
situation, there are two main
postures, the ‘upright’ posture,
in which the bird keeps the
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