The Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), often referred to as Snakebird, Darter, or American Darter, is a water bird that prefers the warmer parts of North America and South America.
It is a cormorant-like bird with an average body length of 85 cm, a wingspan of 117 cm, and a weight of 1350 g. It is a dark-plumaged fish-eater with a very long neck, and often swims with only the neck above water. This is where it gets its name, Snakebird since only the colored neck appears above water, which makes the bird looks like a snake poised to strike.
The Anhinga is a member of the darter family, Anhingidae, and is closely related to Indian (Anhinga melanogaster), African (Anhinga rufa), and Australian (Anhinga novaehollandiae) Darters.
The Anhinga’s feathers are not waterproofed by oils like those of ducks therefore it can get waterlogged causing the bird to become barely buoyant. However, this allows it to dive easily and for significant periods of time in their search for fish under the water.
When necessary, the Anhinga dies out its wings and feathers by perching for long periods with its wings spread to allow the drying process. If it attempts to fly while its wings are wet, it has great difficulty getting off the water and takes off by flapping vigorously while ‘running’ on the water. Anhinga will often search for food in small groups.