Stork and crocodile. Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

By Mark McConville

 

INCREDIBLE action shots have captured Nile crocodiles feasting down on a pelican supper after sneaking up on the unsuspecting birds.

Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) with White pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) caught in mouth.
Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

The stunning pictures show a large group of storks and pelicans flocking on the water as the top of the 12-foot-long deadly predators lurking below are just visible above the surface.

Crocodile and stork ignore each other.
Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

 

Other striking snaps show one large 400lb crocodile suddenly bursting into life as it successfully snatches a pelican and chows down on its well-earned meal.

 

The amazing encounter was captured at Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique by ecologist and photographer Jen Guyton.

Pelican.
Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

 

“The dry season was tightening its grip,” she said.

 

“The desperation of some species, like fish confined to ever-shrinking pools, led to opportunities for others: birds and crocodiles gathered together at the lingering Msicadzi River in a tense truce, trawling captive fish from dawn to dusk.

Crocodile makes its move.
Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

 

“The truce was apparent: to the feeding storks, the crocs were like rocks, avoided but not feared. Tiny egrets fluttered and dipped just in front of a crocodile’s maw, snagging fish that were startled by the reptile.

 

“A croc lunged at a fish, slapping the water suddenly with its jaws, and the birds nearby leaped and dropped like rebounding water droplets, then resumed their hunt as though nothing had happened.

The crocodile tries to snatch the pelican.
Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

 

“And suddenly, there was a thundering splash and the pelicans belly-flopped back into the water. This time, the birds had barely broken the surface when they jolted away as if shocked by an electrical current. Some fled, sailing up and over the trees. Others stood on the shore, wings extended nervously, glancing side to side, tense as a coiled spring.

 

“One pelican remained in the black glassy water, floating askew, its white wing in the air. Lifelessly the pile of whitish feathers glided toward the nearest bank. It was a few moments before I realised what had happened, when a blackish sawtoothed ridge breached the surface. He had been waiting for them – a male crocodile the length of a car, ancient, impossibly silent. The storks fished on, unfazed, while the pelicans still stood stunned.”

Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) with great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) prey, whilst over birds are on the shore, including great egrets (Ardea alba), grey herons (Ardea cinerea), marabou storks (Leptoptilos crumenifer), and hamerkops (Scopus umbretta).
Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

 

The large crocodile struggled to swallow his pelican meal and part of it was eventually stolen by a smaller croc.

 

“With pelican wings dangling from the corners of his mouth like an odd winged head, the croc hauled half out of the water and began the task of swallowing his prey,” added Jen.

Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) with great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) prey, whilst over birds are on the shore, including great egrets (Ardea alba), grey herons (Ardea cinerea), marabou storks (Leptoptilos crumenifer), and hamerkops (Scopus umbretta).
Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

 

“Throwing his head back and forth, he tried to guide the limp bird down his enormous throat. But with its long wings and heavy head, the pelican flopped about, catching in the corners of his mouth and refusing to go down. It wasn’t long before the smaller crocs realised what was going on.

 

“They surrounded him, snapping at his jaws, tossing sharp teeth, seizing mouthfuls of feathers and tossing them back like potato chips. The big croc shoved through them and swam downstream, wings still dangling, five or six smaller crocs in pursuit.

A crocodile surges from the water.
Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

 

“For the next two hours, I watched the croc swim steadily up and down the short stretch of river, pelican wings dragging. Each time he gained distance from the others, he paused, gulping desperately.

 

“And each time, a wing got in the way. His pursuers caught up and surrounded him while he seemed to grow evermore desperate. Eventually, a small croc gripped the pelican’s yellow bill, and with a fierce tug pulled the bird’s head from its body. In seconds, the bill had disappeared down the small croc’s throat.

Crocodile snatches pelican.
Jen Guyton / Nature PL / mediadrumworld.com

 

“It was a hidden blessing for the big croc: his food more streamlined, he gulped the headless bird down, its wings folding backward as he swallowed it whole.”

 

For more information see www.mediadrumworld.com

LEAVE A REPLY