A team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the National Research Council of Argentina equipped an imperial cormorant with a tiny camera on its back to get a glimpse of how it traveled to the ocean floor in search of food.
Avian experts were stunned to see the South American sea bird dive 150 feet in about 40 seconds.
After witnessing the extraordinary feat, the researchers have dubbed the imperial cormorant a “superbird”.
Foraging behavior captured
In order to learn more about the feeding habits of cormorants and get footage on their underwater behavior, the researchers mounted a camera on the back a bird for the first time.
Video and depth profile recordings revealed the foraging behavior of the marine birds. It shows the “Superbird” making the 150 foot dive to the ocean floor in just 40 seconds (the distance is almost that of 13-story skyscraper with very tall ceilings on each floor).
The swimming sensation used its feet to swim deeper. During the short span of 80 seconds it was under water, the "Superbird" explored the vast area for food, finally caught an elongated fish and brought it back to the surface to eat.
Video and depth profile recordings revealed the foraging behavior of the marine birds.
Avian experts studying priority feeding areas
The research was carried out in the coastal protected area of Punta Leon, in Patagonia, Argentina. The region is home to more than 3,500 pairs of the South American sea birds that are recognized by their dark-colored upper halves and white bellies and necks.
Apart from the latest video, the team has spent decades tracking over 400 cormorants along the region using multi-channel archival tags and high- resolution GPS-loggers.
The scientists are gathering data to help pinpoint optimal feeding areas for the imperial cormorants so that they can be safeguarded and monitored. The research is also aimed at trying to get an insight into how environmental conditions affect the birds.