If our fine, feathered friends had their own Olympics, Imperial cormorants would be going home with the gold.
For years, the aquatic feeding habits of these South American sea birds had been a mystery to ornithologists -- but thanks to some specially-fitted POV cameras, the truth behind cormorants' deep-sea diving prowess has never been clearer or more impressive.
A team from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the National Research Council of Argentina recently released this incredible footage of one bird's 3-minute-long underwater fish hunt off the coast of Patagonia. According to researchers, the first-hand look on the back of an Imperial cormorants proves that the birds are capable of diving a remarkable 150 feet in just 40 seconds to reach the sea floor to gobble up a meal of unsuspecting fish.
In light of their findings, stunned scientists have dubbed the stealthy diving cormorants as "super-birds" -- a title quite befitting of a species equally apt in the air, on land, and in the watery depths: the ultimate triathlete.