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

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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.

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