Watch a Killer Whale Hunt a Bird With an IQ 10,000 Move

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Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: November 10, 2023

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orca
© slowmotiongli/Shutterstock.com

Key Points

  • Killer whales, also known as orcas, are highly intelligent mammals that use a variety of sounds to communicate within their large groups.
  • Orcas work together to kill their prey in a variety of ways.
  • In the video, the killer whale baits a bird by placing a small fish on the side of a pool.

Killer whales, better known as orcas, have the second largest brains among marine mammals. They can be found in every ocean throughout the world and like humans, display different behaviors, have different appearances, and communicate in different ways depending on the ocean they call home.

When the video starts, the orca approaches a group of white birds. It places a small piece of fish close enough for the birds to approach. They approach but don’t get too close as the orca watches from only about two feet away. As if sensing the birds are trepidatious, the orca creates more distance between them.

One of the birds, feeling more comfortable with the distance, makes it move to snatch up the piece of fish. Just as it does this, the orca moves right back in, its mouth open, ready to devour the bird. The poor bird doesn’t even get its last meal before it ends up in the orca’s mouth! One of its legs and one of its wings is still sticking out as the orca pulls back.

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It descends deep into the water, and you can barely make out the bird. It’s blurry beneath the surface and disappears as onlookers congratulate the killer whale for its clever kill.

Are Killer Whales Intelligent?

Orcas are wildly intelligent! They know how to adapt to changing environments, they communicate using a broad array of sounds, and they live in large groups. Unlike some solitary animals, killer whales share responsibility for the care of their young, injured, and dying.

They are inherently sophisticated, learning complex languages and creating their own unique set of sounds to communicate with their pod members. They carefully teach their young how to hunt and show care for other members, even as they become unable to support the group following an illness.

How Do Killer Whales Hunt?

Killer whale approaches the edge of a pool, the same way it does in the clip above.

©Frebeque at English Wikipedia / public domain – License

Killer whales hunt in a variety of ways. They may work together to create strong waves that knock their prey into the ocean from floating ice. They may also use their tails to injure their prey, making them more vulnerable for an easier kill.

Their ability to coordinate and the forethought they have just confirm their intelligence. In the clip above, you watch as an orca plans and perfectly executes a kill. It doesn’t just plan ahead, but it also displays patience and assesses behavior before moving forward with its intent.


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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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