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Plain Black And White Photographs and Images

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Darter, Anhinga melanogaster

I have been to Thol a couple of times but have never see this bird before. It is not a very pretty bird, but it looks really amazing in flight...

The darters or snake-birds are birds in the family Anhingidae. There are four living species, one of which is near-threatened. The darters are frequently referred to as snake-birds because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged.

The darters are large birds with sexually dimorphic plumage. The males have black and dark brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have a much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. Both have grey stippling on long scapulars and upper wing coverts. The sharply pointed bill has serrated edges. The darters have completely webbed feet, and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving. Vocalizations include a clicking or rattling when flying or perching. During breeding adults sometimes have caw or hissing calls.
Darters are circum-equatorial, tropical or subtropical. They inhabit either fresh or brackish water and can be found in lakes, rivers, marshes, swamps, estuaries, bays, lagoons and mangrove swamps. They tend to gather in flocks sometimes up to about 100 birds but are highly territorial when breeding. Most are sedentary and do not migrate, however the populations at extreme distributions may migrate. The Oriental Darter is near-threatened species. Habitat destruction along with other human interferences is among the main reasons for a declining population.




Shama said...

realy dig the pic with the 2 birds flying past the flamingos !!! :)