American Darter (Anhinga anhinga) - Wiki
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[Photo] Anhinga in flight. Source: http://flickr.com/photos/artolog/368653431/ Date: 2007-02-22. Author: Art Siegel
The Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called Snakebird, Darter, American Darter, or Water Turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of North America and South America.
It is a cormorant-like bird with an average body length of 85 cm (35 in), a wingspan of 117 cm (45 in), and a weight of 1,350 g. It is a dark-plumaged fish-eater with a very long neck, and often swims with only the neck above water. When swimming in this style the name Snakebird is apparent, since only the colored neck appears above water the bird looks like a snake ready 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, and can get waterlogged, causing the bird to become barely buoyant. However, this allows it to dive easily and search for fish under the water. It can stay down for significant periods.
When necessary, the Anhinga will dry out its wings and feathers. It will perch for long periods with its wings spread to allow the drying process, as do cormorants. 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.
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