Students at Auckland University of Technology built a custom drone to film footage of a Bryde's Whale feeding off the waters of New Zealand, capturing the moment for perhaps the first time.
The use of a drone to watch whales feeding is ideal because it allows scientists to see a full overhead view without disturbing the wildlife.
The footage shows the 40-foot, 12-ton Bryde's Whales opening their mouths near the surface of the water. This is how the whale feeds, according to National Geographic:
Suddenly it lunges at the biggest mass of fish, mouth opening wide, throat pouch ballooning with seawater. Even against the tremendous drag created by its gaping maw, flicks of the whale's muscular tail power it through the water. Its jaw snaps shut in an explosion of bubbles. Other hunters circle nearby, waiting for a turn at the feast.
"I was in awe of these creatures. Never before have I seen anything like this. There is no way we would see so much detail from a boat-based survey," said researcher Barbara Bollard Breen in a quote featured on the video.
The Bryde's Whale is endangered, with only 200 of the species living in New Zealand waters, the video notes.
Check out some other amazing drone videos of feeding whales.
From: Esquire US.