Birds eating fish is a common occurrence. But are there any fish that eat birds?
Fish that eat birds are:
- Largemouth Bass,
- Murray Cod,
- Goliath Tigerfish,
- Northern Pike,
- Wels Catfish,
- Tiger Sharks,
- Taimen, and
- Giant Trevally.
Let’s now learn more about these fish in more detail.
9 Fish That Can Eat Birds
Fish primarily feed on other fish and invertebrates around them. However, certain fish species prey on birds.
Although these fish can eat a bird, it’s not a common part of their diet.
They prey on birds, especially when the birds are young or weak.
Given below are the fish species that eat birds.
1. Largemouth Bass
Scientific Name: Micropterus salmoides
The largemouth bass is a carnivorous freshwater fish native to the eastern and central United States, northern Mexico, and southeastern Canada.
They live in ponds, lakes, creeks, swamps, reservoirs, large rivers, and other water bodies with lots of underwater vegetation where they can hide and ambush their prey.
Largemouth bass fish are opportunistic predators. They usually target ducklings and small birds that land in the water.
Baby birds that fall out of nests from the trees that overhang these water bodies are also easy prey for these fish.
2. Murray Cod
Check out how Murray Cod looks over here.
Scientific Name: Maccullochella peelii
Murray cods aren’t true cods.
They’re predatory fish that inhabit the freshwater rivers and creeks of eastern South Australia and west of the Great Dividing Range in NSW, southern Queensland, and Victoria.
Murray cods are found in warm water habitats ranging from clear, rocky streams to slow-flowing turbulent rivers and billabongs.
These fish are known to eat birds that land or swim on the water’s surface.
They’re apex predators in their environment that prey even on fairly large birds such as ducks and cormorants.
3. African Tigerfish
Scientific Name: Hydrocynus vittatus
African tigerfish live in various freshwater bodies around Africa. They prefer large lakes and rivers.
These fish are considered top predators in their habitat.
They’re fierce hunters and feed on all available fish. Among all fish, their favored prey fish are gobies, cichlids, and carp.
Smaller African tigerfish hunt in large schools, whereas adults hunt alone.
Until now, there was only anecdotal evidence that these fish can propel themselves out of the water and catch flying birds.
But now, there is documented evidence that researchers have seen African tigerfish attacking barn swallows.
They attack and grab the bird near the water surface or leap out of the water to catch the bird mid-air.
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4. Northern Pike
Scientific Name: Esox lucius
The northern pike is a species of carnivorous fish inhabiting the fresh and brackish waters of the Northern hemisphere.
They’re known as Pike in most of Eastern Europe, the United States, Canada, Ireland, and Britain.
Northern pikes are primarily found in sluggish streams and shallow, weedy places of reservoirs and lakes.
They’re also found in cold, clear, and rocky waters.
These fish are highly aggressive predators that attack and eat anything that fits in their mouths.
Among birds, ducklings are an easy target for these fish as they paddle along the water’s surface.
The sharp teeth of northern pike fish make ducklings vulnerable to predation.
Although these fish eat ducklings, they don’t actively prey upon them.
If the ducklings cross their path, northern pikes usually make a meal of them.
Scientific Name: Esox masquinongy
Muskellunge is a species of large predatory fish native to North America.
They primarily inhabit the lakes with numerous submerged weed beds.
But they can also be found in clear, sterile lakes with very few or almost no weeds.
Muskellunge grow very large, close to 8 feet long, and can weigh up to 70 pounds.
Due to their large size, sharp teeth, immense power, and high speed, these fish are voracious predators that eat large-sized prey than most freshwater fish.
They eat almost every fish present in their ecosystem, including other muskellunge.
Among birds, muskellunge fish can eat adult ducks, ducklings, goslings (young geese), and fully grown waterfowl birds.
6. Wels Catfish
Scientific Name: Silurus glanis
Wels catfish, also called sheatfish, is a large catfish native to wide areas of southern, central, and eastern Europe.
These fish are usually found in large, warm water bodies and deep, slow-moving rivers.
With a total length exceeding 3 m (9.8 feet), this fish is the second largest freshwater fish in Western Asia and Europe, after the beluga sturgeon.
Wels catfish have a voracious appetite. They’re always on the lookout for potential prey.
These fish usually attack birds like pigeons and ducks when they’re feeding or drinking water along the edge of the water.
They pounce and grab their feathered prey before heading to the deeper waters to devour it.
7. Tiger Sharks
Scientific Name: Galeocerdo cuvier
Family: Requiem sharks
Tiger sharks are common in many tropical and temperate waters, especially around the central Pacific islands.
The name is derived from their physical appearance.
They have dark stripes resembling a tiger’s pattern, which fade as the shark matures.
They have been nicknamed as the garbage disposal of the sea as they tend to eat anything that doesn’t look like natural food.
Tiger sharks are solitary and primarily nocturnal hunters.
Their diet mainly consists of fish, crustaceans, turtles, squids, dolphins, and even other small sharks.
As per this report, baby tiger sharks eat birds.
They not only eat seabirds like pelicans or gulls but also eat backyard birds like sparrows, doves, and woodpeckers.
Tiger sharks are opportunistic predators that prey on all seabirds that rest on the water’s surface.
They also frequently dine on baby albatross birds.
Scientific Name: Hucho taimen
Taimen fish is a large relative of salmon and trout. These fish are native to Russia, Central Asia, Mongolia, and parts of China.
Taimens are potamodromous, meaning, unlike other salmonids, they spend their entire lives in freshwater bodies.
They’re usually found in swift-flowing rivers with high-oxygen levels.
Taimens are active predators that feed on other fish. However, they also feed on ducks and other birds that venture into the water.
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9. Giant Trevally
Scientific Name: Caranx ignobilis
Giant trevallies, also known as barrier travelly, lowly trevally, ulua, and giant kingfish, are found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region.
They grow to about 5.5 feet in length and weigh around 180 pounds.
Their massive size and high speed make them formidable predators.
Giant trevallies are apex predators known to hunt individually and sometimes in groups.
In their natural environment, these fish mainly feed on various other fish, mollusks, cephalopods, and crustaceans.
They are known to regularly hunt fledgling birds dependent on their parents for feeding.
These large fish usually target small birds as they’re easy prey.
When the birds are in the learning stages of flying, they often fall into the water, where these fish quickly catch and swallow them whole.
Giant trevallies can also track the bird’s flight path from underwater before jumping from the water to grab the bird mid-flight.
They either eat the bird in one gulp or take several bites, depending upon the bird’s size.