Enjoying a leisurely wade in the waters of the Dutch
undergrowth this grey heron decided to go in search of lunch when he
came across this unsuspecting black rabbit.
Undeterred by its size, the grey heron, the
largest bird of its kind in Europe, swooped down and gobbled the rabbit
up in one mouthful, as these pictures show.
photographer Ad Sprang, has specialised in bird watching for 10 years,
made the trip to Vianen, Holland, last year to get pictures of the
"I was trying to make some nice shots of this grey heron," describes the 56-year-old Dutchman.
After having made several shots a little rabbit suddenly appeared out of a hole in the ground.
"The heron was interested in it and slowly approached the little rabbit.
"When the heron was quite close to the rabbit you could feel the tension.
"The head of the bird slowly moved from the left to the right; apparently to estimate the distance."
Obviously hungry, the adult grey heron, who
average at 90-100 cm in height, with a 175-195cm wingspan and a weight
of 1.2kg, made its move.
"Then all of a sudden in a split second the bird caught the rabbit," said Mr Sprang.
"The rabbit screamed loudly when it was hanging helplessly in the bill of the big heron.
I managed to make two photos of this and the bird flew away with the rabbit in its bill.
The bird landed in a water-place nearby. I could quickly turn the car and took several photos of the rest of the story.
heron tried to kill the rabbit by putting it under water. After about
half a minute the rabbit was almost dead but as it moved it was put
under water by the heron again.
"When the poor
little rabbit had finally died the heron swallowed the rabbit
completely. It was not that easy because of the size but finally the
heron was successful.
"I have often seen herons catching preys like mice and fish. but catching a rabbit was a surprise."