The anhinga is a water living bird that lacks an oil gland for waterproofing its feathers such as most birds that live in water do. When it goes swimming the feathers are well doused with water.

This is not all bad as it helps the bird dive well and chase under water prey with feathers wet it can still fly, simply not as well or as fast.


Adult Anhingas have lovely white feathers on his dark wings and a very long tail. This gave it its nick name of water turkey.

It is also commonly known as the snake bird because of its long neck which reminded people of a snake.

The female has much lighter colored feathers on the neck and chest than the males.

The anhinga spears his prey with his arrow like beak and sometimes the thrust is so powerful that he has to swim to shore and rub his oprey off his beak on a rock.

Length: 28 inches Wingspan: 47 inches.

Large, dark waterbird with long, loosely-jointed tail.

Very long, thin neck.

Long, pointed bill.

Often perches with wings spread to dry them.

Often swims with just head and neck above surface.

May soar for extended periods, like a hawk. (Taken from Wikipedia).


Adult male:

Black head, neck and body with white plumes and edgings on wing coverts.

Adult female:

Tan head and neck.

Black body with white plumes and edgings on wing coverts.

Similar species:

Cormorants have hooked bills, and shorter tails and necks.

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