Anhinga

Their neck vertebrae have a hinge mechanism that allows it to dart its long neck and pierce its prey quickly

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Often referred to as the “snake bird” due to its distinctive appearance, the Anhinga is a fascinating aquatic bird recognized for its unique swimming technique. Found in freshwater and brackish water bodies along the coasts of North America, including the southwest USA and Mexico, as well as in Central and South America, this large waterbird exhibits remarkable adaptability to diverse environments.

The Anhinga’s most remarkable feature is its intriguing hunting strategy. Skimming the water with only its long neck and head visible, it mimics the look of a serpent as it swims. With a swift and precise motion, it employs its lengthy and sharp bill to jab at slow-moving fish, catching them rapidly. Following the catch, the Anhinga flips its prey above the water and swallows it head-first, showcasing an efficient and distinctive feeding behavior.

During the breeding season, Anhingas exhibit elaborate courtship displays, forming enduring pair bonds that can last for years. Both male and female birds actively participate in caring for the clutch of 2-5 eggs, demonstrating a strong sense of partnership and parental responsibility. This intricate combination of unique behaviors and adaptability underscores the remarkable nature of the Anhinga in the avian world.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Antigua & Barbuda
2016
Non-Breeding
Argentina
2016
Bahamas
2016
Non-Breeding
Barbados
2016
Non-Breeding
Belize
2016
Bolivia
2016
Brazil
2016
Canada
2016
Non-Breeding
Cayman Islands
2016
Non-Breeding
Colombia
2016
Costa Rica
2016
Cuba
2016
Dominica
2016
Non-Breeding
Dominican Republic
2016
Non-Breeding
Ecuador
2016
El Salvador
2016
French Guiana
2016
Grenada
2016
Non-Breeding
Guadeloupe
2016
Non-Breeding
Guatemala
2016
Guyana
2016
Haiti
2016
Non-Breeding
Honduras
2016
Jamaica
2016
Vagrant
Martinique
2016
Non-Breeding
Mexico
2016
Montserrat
2016
Non-Breeding
Nicaragua
2016
Panama
2016
Paraguay
2016
Peru
2016
Saint Lucia
2016
Non-Breeding
Saint Vincent
2016
Non-Breeding
St. Kitts & Nevis
2016
Non-Breeding
Suriname
2016
Trinidad & Tobago
2016
Non-Breeding
Turks & Caicos
2016
Non-Breeding
United States
2016
Breeding
Uruguay
2016
Breeding
Venezuela
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No