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Anhingidae - Darters

Darter
African Darter Anhinga rufa ©Trevor Hardaker Website

The darters, or snakebird,s are mainly tropical waterbirds in the family Anhingidae. There are four living species (or just two according to some authorities or as many as five according to others who split off the Madagascan form vulsini), three of which are very common and widespread while the fourth is rarer and classified as near-threatened by the IUCN.

The term 'snakebird' is usually used without any additions to signify whichever of the completely allopatric species occurs in any one region. It refers to their long thin neck, which has a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged, or when mated pairs twist it during their bonding displays.

'Darter' is used with a geographical term when referring to particular species. It alludes to their manner of procuring food, as they impale fishes with their thin, pointed beak.

The American Darter A. anhinga is more commonly known as the Anhinga.

'Anhinga' is derived from the Tupi ajiŋa (also transcribed ayinga or ayinga), which in local mythology refers to a malevolent demonic forest spirit; it is often translated as 'devil bird'. The name changed to anhinga or anhanga as it was transferred to the Tupi–Portuguese Língua Geral. However, in its first documented use as an English term in 1818, it referred to an Old World darter. Ever since, it has also been used for the modern genus Anhinga as a whole.

Anhingas nest colonially in tree limbs that hang over water. As many as 400 Anhinga nests may occur in a single colony, though usually there are only a few dozen. Anhingas sometimes share their nesting colonies with wading birds such as herons, ibises, and spoonbills.

According to the IOC there are just four species in this familly:

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster
African Darter Anhinga rufa
Australian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae
Anhinga (American Darter) Anhinga anhinga

Family Links

Darters Anhingidae

Family Account

Darters are a family of either two or four closely related species of Cormorant-like water bird with very long necks. They often swims with only the neck above water, and are fish-eaters.

Darters Anhingidae

IBC Family Account

Family account

Darters Anhingidae

Family Account

Family account

Darters Anhingidae

HBW Family Account

HBW family account

Species Links

Australian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

Species Account

Full species account…

African Darter Anhinga rufa

Species Account

The African darter (Anhinga rufa), sometimes called the snakebird, is a water bird of sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq.

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster

Species Account

The Oriental darter or Indian darter (Anhinga melanogaster) is a water bird of tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia. It has a long and slender neck with a straight, pointed bill and, like the cormorant, it hunts for fish while its body submerged is in water. It spears a fish underwater, bringing it above the surface, tossing and juggling it before swallowing the fish head first. The body remains submerged as it swims, and the slender neck alone is visible above the water, which accounts for the colloquial name of snakebird. Like the cormorants, it has wettable feathers and it is often found perched on a rock or branch with its wings held open to dry.

Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

Species Account

The Australasian darter or Australian darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) is a species of bird in the darter family, Anhingidae. It is found in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. It weighs around 2.6 kg and spans 86–94 cm (34–37 in) in length.

Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

BirdLife Species Account

Species profile and status

Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

IUCN Species Status

IUCN species status and profile

Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

Webpage

HBW species account

Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

IBC Species Account

IBC species account

Anhinga (American Darter) Anhinga anhinga

Species Account

The anhinga (/ænˈhɪŋɡə/; Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called snakebird, darter, American darter, or water turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas. The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. When swimming the origin of the name snakebird is apparent: only the colored neck appears above water so the bird looks like a snake ready to strike. They do not have external nares (nostrils) and breathe solely through their epiglottis.

Anhinga (American Darter) Anhinga anhinga

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile and status

Anhinga (American Darter) Anhinga anhinga

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Anhinga (American Darter) Anhinga anhinga

HBW Species Account

HBW species account

Anhinga (American Darter) Anhinga anhinga

Cornell Species Account

A bird of southern swamps, the Anhinga is known as the Water-Turkey for its swimming habits and broad tail, and also as the Snake-Bird for its habit of swimming with just its long head and neck sticking out of the water.

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile and status

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster

HBW Species Account

HBW species account

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster

IBC Species Account

IBC species account

African Darter Anhinga rufa

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile and status

African Darter Anhinga rufa

IUCN Species Status

African Darter Anhinga rufa

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

African Darter Anhinga rufa

HBW Species Account

HBW species account

African Darter Anhinga rufa

IBC Species Account

IBC species account and excellent imager

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster

IUCN Species Status

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 4

Photographers & Artists

Australian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

Image

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