Snake Bird

AKA “devil bird” or “snake bird”

This series of wading shorebirds are from a mash alongside Blackpoint Wildlife Drive.

This Anhinga basked on a marsh bush just off Blackpoint Wildlife Drive on a January morning. Soaking in sunlight is most important for this waterbird as Anhinga features are not waterproof, after a session of diving, the bird is soaked through to the skin and need to warm up and dry off.

“The Anhinga sometimes called snakebird, darter, American darter, or water turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas. The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means “devil bird” or “snake bird”. The origin of the name is apparent when swimming: only the neck appears above water, so the bird looks like a snake ready to strike. They do not have external nares (nostrils) and breathe solely through their epiglottis. Anhinga species are found all over the world in warm shallow waters.”

The American anhinga has been subdivided into two subspecies, Anhinga anhinga anhinga and Anhinga anhinga lleucogaster, based on their location. Anhinga anhinga anhinga can be found mainly east of the Andes in South America and also the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Anhinga anhinga lleucogaster can be found in the southern United States, Mexico, Cuba, and Grenada.

“A kettle of Anhingas often migrate with other birds and have been described as resembling black paper gliders.”

The text in quotes is from the Anhinga wikipedia article.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Brevard County, Florida

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

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