Anhingas are Stealth Predators Under Water!

The Anhinga is also known as the snake bird or water turkey.  When it swims, the head sticks out of the water a little like a snake.  The tail feathers fan out in the water (and while drying) to look a little like a turkey. I spent an hour watching one fish this week, and I think in a matter for 40 minutes the bird caught between 30 and 50 fish! They use their razor sharp bills to spear the fish under the water, but then the fish is AROUND the bill, so they can’t open their mouth to eat it. Not to worry; the anhinga wriggled their head to move the fish toward the end of the bill, and then they can throw it into the air and catch it.  In all of the dives, I never saw them miss a thrown fish.

It’s pretty easy to understand why they are called snake birds; all you need to do is look at that silhouette in the water.  They are also called water turkeys, because of the way the feathers fan out in the water.  As you can see from that feeding video, they can use that tail as a way to balance at the surface of the water while they throw the fish into the air.

Basic Anhinga Facts and Identification:

Photos of Anhingas resting, fishing, and preening

Anhinga Fishing: Non-narrated nature observation

Here is a lot of uncut video from the anhinga fishing excursion~ I did cut out long boring stretches when the bird was under the water, but the rest of this is narrated by the Osprey chicks nearby.

Nesting Anhinga

Anhinga nest relatively nearby in colonies of tree nesting water birds above fresh water wetlands.  Last year, we popped over to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens for a chance to watch these birds on their nests.  We were able to see birds in all stages of growth: click here to read that post.