Common Name:

Anhinga- Snake Bird, Water-Turkey

Latin Name:

Anhinga anhinga7042858189_90302b0c97.jpg

Family:

Anhingidae

Range:

They are found as far north as the Carolinas in the U.S. to as far south as Uruguay. They are found throughout he south eastern states of the U.S., throughout the Central Americas, and in the northeastern parts of South America.

Abundance:

The anhinga is found to be a stable species with few predators. Their biggest concerns lies with humans as they are prone to entanglement while swimming, and are often poisoned by contaminated waters.

Coloration and Morphology:

The anhinga ranges from 30-37in in length with a wingspan as large as 43in. The have a characteristic s-shaped neck and long beak perfect for swimming and fishing. This bird is dimorphic in that the male is mostly black with silver accented wings, while females have black stomachs with brown and tan back and necks.

Reproductive cycle:

An interesting fact is that the anhinga will have a blue ring around their eyes when they are breeding. They create loose nest that are found along waterways. Females will lay 3-5 blue eggs
anhinga.jpg

Habitat:

You often find anhinga along freshwater water ways such as narrow rivers. This is the best location for this bird to fish and safely feed. They are only found in extreme environments such as open lakes and salt water during droughts.

Behavior:

Anhinga are diving birds. They are known to be deep divers in comparison to other birds. Their snake like feature is understood both while they are in the water, as they gracefully swim, and during their surface swim, as they lift their heads above the surface.The anhinga is also cable of flying high in the sky in a soaring pattern looking for food. Their flying pattern resembles that of turkey vultures lending to its other name the water turkey.

Diet:

Small/ Medium fish makes of the majority of this bird's diet.Their beak acts like a spear to collect fish as it swims. They are also known to eat crustaceans and few invertebrates.

Personal Experience:

My first interaction with this bird was during our boat trip in La Selva. We were able to observe the bird drying his feathers as it was perched on a branch near the river.


References:

http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/anhinga.htm