Watch This Wels Catfish Hunt & Kill Unsuspecting Pigeons

Catfish eats bird
BBC Earth

Fish killing birds? What kind of backwards world is this video from?

It definitely sound out of the ordinary, but I can assure you that this footage is as real as it gets. This species of catfish commonly found in Europe, called the wels catfish, has mastered the art of hunting and killing pigeons, and something tells me that we need to get these big ol’ fish in every big city fountain ASAP.

Pigeons are often considered the most successful of all urban birds. Part of the reason they can thrive in such an artificial, non-green environment is the fact that they generally have a lack of fear. There’s not a lot of things a pigeon wouldn’t do in order to survive. But with that being said, they still have to fend for and take care of themselves. That means pigeons have to dip into the occasional bird bath to make sure their wings and plumage stay in the best shape possible, and that lack of fear can put them in danger.

Which brings us to this video from BBC Earth that was captured in South France. Believe it or not, there’s a large pigeon population in Europe, and they too (like our American pigeons) are not afraid of much of anything. That leads them to bathe in the shallow banks of the river, where predators are often lurking around in search of a quick meal.

The wels catfish, which was introduced 40 years ago in Europe, falls into the category of pigeon predators. The species has devastated the stock of most of Europe’s native fish, and because they’ve basically eaten the rivers dry (at least of other fish), the catfish ended up developing a taste for another type of prey.

Wels catfish have adapted over the years to detect oil from the pigeon’s feathers, so once they are on the scent, it’s advantage fish. Though birds have the high ground, and possess the ability to make a quick getaway, they are no match for the stealth and speed of the wels catfish.

As the pigeons bath in the shallow water, the large fish take the opportunity to slowly swim up undetected. They are only spotted when it’s too late, often when one pigeon is already getting violently pulled underwater by the killer catfish.

The video below is basically a pigeon horror movie. It’s pretty brutal stuff to watch, but if you aren’t a fan of pigeons, you are probably trying to think how cities overrun with “flying rodents” could safely introduce these pigeon-hungry creatures.

Take a look:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock