An imperial cormorant was filmed diving 150 feet underwater in 40 seconds -- the first time such a dive has ever been recorded on camera.
The South American sea bird was outfitted with a tiny camera strapped to its back by a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the National Research Council of Argentina, according to a press release.
The astonishing footage, which was uploaded to YouTube, shows the bird flying briefly above water before diving swiftly for the bottom of the ocean. With its head pumping up and down, the water becomes noticeably darker, and the narrator relates, colder, as the cormorant reaches the ocean floor.
Once on the seabed, the bird searches for food, eventually catching an elongated, snakelike fish, which it grips tightly in its beak for the journey back to the surface, where it finally feeds.
The film was made in the coastal protected area of Punta Leon, in Patagonia, Argentina. The region is home to more than 3,500 pairs of imperial cormorants, a nonmigratory bird that can be recognized by its dark-colored upper half and white belly and neck, according to the release.
Using sophisticated technology, including high-resolution GPS-loggers, the team hopes to identify high priority feeding areas for purposes of study and protection.
In February, cormorants living in Britain were targeted precisely for their hunting prowess. Anglers in the country started a petition calling for a cull of the once-endangered birds, and 16,000 signatures were handed to the Fisheries Minister, BBC News reports.