It's official: octopuses have completed their quest for mastery of landsea and sky. May the force be with us all.

This bizarre battle was caught on camera by YouTuber Rowan Teece in New South Wales, Australia. While some viewers might find the video disturbing, for Teece, it's a great example of nature in action. "Why not look at how animals feed in our world," he says. "It is a great way to learn about our ocean creatures."

This isn't the first time we've encountered an octopus with an appetite for poultry. Back in 2012, a similar showdown unfolded off the coast of British Columbia, and several years before that, scientists watched an octopus hunt a brown noddy (Anous stolidus) in the West Atlantic. In that incident, the bird was ambushed while resting on the rim of a tide pool, dragged underwater, and promptly eaten (a hunting success so unexpected that it earned the octopus the nickname "Bird Kraken").

The team who witnessed the event suggest the ability to catch birds may have originated from the practice of ambushing other quick-moving prey like the Sally Lightfoot crab

That said, gulls have been known to hunt octopuses as well, so it's tough to say with certainty which opponent struck first in the latest battle. It's possible we're simply watching the aftermath of what was the sea-faring bird's foiled attempt at lunch. Either way, it's a fascinating look at a rarely seen interaction.

(In the event that this video left you feeling sorry for the gulls of the world, just remember: they like to snack on baby seal eyeballs and whales' backs.)


Top header image: Ray Sadler/Flickr