"Anhinga"
(Anhinga anhinga)






Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Anhinga and 2 Australian Black Swans
Photograph by

Snow W. Frost
Anhinga "drying off its wings"
Photograph by

Snow W. Frost
Anhinga and Australian Black Swan
Photograph by

Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost








Anhingas are a large black waterbird with a long thin neck, long pointed yellow bill, and a long tail. It "skewers" fish, with its long sharp bill. The wings have silvery streaks and spots on the shoulders, and the body is glossed with green...very "stiking" when the sunlight reflects on it. Unlike ducks and other diving birds, its feathers become waterlogged, which helps diving and maneuvering underwater. Like a "cormorant", to dry off, it strikes an erect pose with wings outstretched, facing the sun.

When an Anhinga swims, only the head and neck appear above water, which is one reason they are called "snakebird".





Size: 33"

Male: All black with glossy green and white spots and steaks on shoulders and wings. All dark long neck and tail. Long, narrow yellow bill.

Female: Similar to male, but has buff brown neck and breast.

Immature: It is like a female, but has brown on the body. The plumage is kept for 1-2 years.

Nest: Platform, in colony; male and female build; 1 brood per year. It nests in small colonies, often with herons. The platform next is made of sticks and twigs lined with finer material, placed in a tree. They sometimes use the old nests of herons.

Eggs: 2-4; light blue without markings.

Incubation: 21-25 days; female and male incubate.

Fledging: 37-42 days; female and male feed young.

Migration: Non-migrator.

Food: Fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans and small mammals. They feed by diving from the surface of the water, spearing prey with their pointed bill.

Voice: During breeding they may give guttural calls and brunts during a pair interaction on the ground, or a series of high whistles like :eek eek eek: while flying.

In flight: Flight is a series of flaps followed by a glide. They often soar high in the air and migrate by day in large flocks.

Habitat: Freshwater swamps, marshes, lakes, and rivers.





My personal notes...

It's amazing to watch these birds swim "deep under" the water for fish, and are able to hold their breath for quite some time. I enjoy watching them "flick" their wings to aid in drying the feathers...then holding the open wing pose for a long period of time. It's almost like a hypnotic state they go in when they are "sunning" themselves. I had the opportunity to once watch a huge size anhinga decide to dry itself in an area that was obviously claimed by a pair of Australian Black Swans...the swans "won" their territory, and the Anhinga had to move quite some distance to dry itself.









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