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Fish versus bird: Marine monster leaps from sea to devour feathered prey (VIDEO)

Fish versus bird: Marine monster leaps from sea to devour feathered prey (VIDEO)
In a role reversal reminiscent of the rule that news equals man bites dog, the giant trevally – or king-fish – has proved to be a cold-faced marine world killer that can pluck birds right out of the sky.

Native to the Indian and Pacific Ocean atolls, the predatory creature can weigh up to 80 kilograms. The whopper featured on David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II programme on Sunday, some of whose viewers reacted in horror to its eating habits.

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Footage released by the BBC shows how the giant trevally can swallow birds whole, often devouring fledgling birds resting on the ocean waves. However, the fish can also spring right out of the water to catch birds mid-flight.

Miles Barton, producer on the Blue Planet II show, said the episode started out as a story told by fisherman. Inspired by the tales, crew members went in search of the trevally’s incredible hunting exploits around the Seychelles.

“We went out on the sea but we realised quite early on that the events were very unpredictable. You’d see splashes and you thought it was a fish catching a bird but you weren’t sure,” he told the Radio Times.

The crew then discovered a channel of water where many individuals of the species had gathered, and what they came across was a jaw-dropping example of the fish’s hunting exploits.

“The fish managed to project itself a metre out of the water and then expand its mouth to the size of a small football to totally encompass the bird. It happens so fast you don’t really see it until you play it back,” Barton said.

Viewers were equal parts engrossed and repulsed by the remarkable bird-chomping footage: