The exposed mudflats, mangroves and beaches of the Upper Bay of Panama are a very important feeding station for both migrant and resident waterbirds and waders year-round. The simply amazing numbers of peeps and other shorebirds that spent most of their lives here are prove of that. But this time, I want to highlight that almost during every visit I witness a waterbird catching/eating large catfishes... like this Great Egret in Costa del Este.
The habitat is just ideal for the catfishes, so I guess they abound and are quite easy to catch. Sometimes, the birds just take them from the mud... or, in the case of the Magnificent Frigatebirds, are stolen from other birds. This is a repetitive scene in Panama Viejo (where I took the next photos): a lucky bird catch a fish just to be harassed by these feathered pirates... and who can resist those bandits?
The Magnificent Frigatebird is a specialized kleptoparasite... parasiting by theft. However, as it usually happens, this frigatebird was not the only one patrolling the site and soon another individual tried to steal the prize.
|Two Magnificent Frigatebirds after the fish|
Seeing those two frigatebirds in the air is fun. The large birds are extremely agile in the air, and elegant... even when they chase each other.
|Agility in the air|
Eventually, the catfich fell to the floor... after all, nobody knows to whom is working... the birds spend 10 minutes disputing the catfish just to give it to a cat that was just passing by.
What can I say? Some are luckier than others!