Happy #WorldSnakeDay ! This is a snake bird, an Anhinga. Anhingas are called snake birds because of the way they swim with their bodies submerged and long, snake-like necks held up in the air. It seems like they’re slinking through the water (swipe to see a picture!). The name Anhinga comes from an indigenous Brazilian Tupi word meaning “devil bird.” 🐍
Unlike most waterbirds, the Anhinga doesn’t have waterproof feathers; soaking its plumage reduces its buoyancy, allowing it to keep its body underwater without spending energy. For this reason, they’re geographically restricted to warm waters. This one is from Florida. #snakebird
Bonus fun fact! Snake birds have another name: water turkeys. That’s because their tails resemble one of a Wild Turkey. 🌊🦃 #waterturkey#anhinga
Live photo credit: Batonahorse on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
As I walked through the stunning biodiversity that is the Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan, India, I saw a snake's head dart up from the water while I was observing a Sarus Crane nearby. Closer inspection revealed that the 'snake' had a beak and a fish in its mouth that it proceeded to throw up and catch. This was a bird -- the Oriental Darter -- also known as the Snakebird for obvious reasons. Closely related to and from the same genus (Anhinga) as the Anhinga from the Americas, the Oriental Darter has amazingly strong neck muscles that allow it to dart in and out of the water with tremendous speed. It is found in freshwater streams and lakes. If you think it looks a bit like a cormorant, you're be right because all Anhinga species do share many characteristics with cormorants, particularly in the way they hunt fish and the texture of their feathers. This species is currently classified as near threatened because its numbers have decreased as a result of loss of habitat. If you visit India, be sure to go to Keoladeo National Park, where the Snakebird can easily be found!
One totally unrelated question for which I'd love to have an answer from at least one person reading this -- is my writing too 'academic' for you to read? Does it put you to sleep?
Anhinga anhinga - it’s name comes from the Brazilian Tupi Language that means snake bird.
You can find this bird perching anywhere close to the water, with its wings wide open to allow its feathers to dry off. .
If you pay attention, specially around lakes or retention ponds, you can see them swimming, hunting for fish!!! I’ve never see a swimming bird before and it blew my mind 🤯. The ones with the lighter head are the females- like the one I drew here. The males are all black.
When the Anhinga pokes its head out of the water it certainly looks a little like the Loch Ness monster 🤣. .
Although they are not endangered the Anhinga population has been consistently decreasing. 😢
Swipe left for the drawing time lapse.