Cormorant's deep underwater dive filmed

The cormorant took 40 seconds to reach the ocean floor and spent just over a minute finding a fish to eat

Related Stories

A South American seabird's high-speed deep dive to the ocean floor has been filmed by researchers.

A camera was fitted to an imperial cormorant's back before it dived 150ft underwater off Argentina's Patagonia Coast in 40 seconds.

The footage shows how in just over a minute it finds and catches a fish, before returning to the surface.

A Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) team is studying the birds to help spot priority feeding areas.

The team led by Dr Flavio Quintana and including conservationists from the National Research Council of Argentina, was able to witness the birds' feeding techniques firsthand for the first time by capturing the underwater behaviour on camera.

Imperial cormorant A tiny camera was fitted to the bird's back to record its underwater feeding technique

The footage shows the cormorant on the surface of the protected coastal area of Punta León in Patagonia, Argentina, which is home to more than 3,500 pairs of the birds.

The camera is attached to the bird's back, and the video shows it pushing its feet to dive deeper, and exploring a vast area searching for food. It eventually finds an elongated fish, which it brings to the surface to eat.

The team has been studying the birds for the past 10 years and is using cutting edge technological tools such as multi-channel archival tags and high resolution GPS-loggers to track 400 of them and monitor their behaviour.

The conservationists hope the data will help identify priority feeding areas, which in turn can allow new protected areas to be designated along the coast.

They also hope the research will enable them to understand environmental conditions that affect cormorants.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More from nature

  • Cardinal fish and ostracodFish filmed spitting 'fireworks'

    Film crew captures ostracods' spectacular defensive lightshow that makes predatory fish spit them out.

  • Arapaima'Locally extinct'

    A giant fish which used to dominate the Amazon river is now absent in many areas

  • DragonflyRapid reactions

    Dragonfly's super quick reactions recorded in slow motion by BBC film-makers

  • Wingless adult male of the midge Belgica antarcticaExtreme survivor

    Antarctic midge's small genome may be an adaptation to its extreme environment

  • Myotis midastactus specimen (previously identified as Myotis simus)Golden discovery

    A bat from Bolivia is described as a new species by scientists

  • Dinosaurs 'shrank' to become birds

    Huge meat-eating, land-living dinosaurs evolved into birds by constantly shrinking for over 50 million years, new research shows.

  • Would we starve without bees?

    Honey bees are under threat, and as pollination significantly contributes to the food we eat, what would we do without them?

  • Eggshells may act like 'sunblock'

    Birds' eggs show adaptations in pigment concentration and thickness to allow the right amount of sun for embryos, scientists say.

  • Female shrimps are more aggressive

    Female snapping shrimps are more aggressive than males when defending their territories despite their smaller claw size, a study shows.

BBC iWonder

  • Honey bee close-upInsect intelligence

    Are honey bees as smart as your sat nav?

  • Tyrannosaurus rex skull (c) Mark Williamson / Science Photo LibraryDinosaur dynasty

    One group of dinosaurs survived and their descendants can be seen all around us today

  • Brown rat cluse upRise of the rodent

    Reports of giant, 'super rats' are filling the headlines. But why are we being overrun by rats?

  • Cuckoo portraitHoliday hotspot

    What makes the UK such an attractive destination for visiting wildlife?

There have been 75 solar eclipses and 167 major volcanic eruptions in my lifetime

Nicole Malliotakis on Twitter comments on the events that have happened since she was born by using our personalised Your Life on Earth interactive infographic.

Get Inspired


More Nature Activities >

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.