Birders from far and wide visit south Florida because of our bird diversity

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Amazing Anhingas

The Anhinga is one of my favorite birds.


One of the most amazing birds that you will ever encounter on one of our tours is the Anhinga. This bird has a few intriguing names such as snakebird, darter and secret crow. I grew up calling them the swamp turkey. If you happen to see them swimming through a swamp you’ll know why. Anhingas are frequently sighted with their heads sticking up out of the water, a sight that resembles a large black snake peeking out of the waves. If these birds are not in the water, they are usually seen standing imperiously on the shore drying their feathers in the sun.


These extraordinary birds swim underwater for their prey and surface after they are successful. While underwater, they use their sharp, long beaks like a spear to snag various fish and amphibians. They will make several passes until this is accomplished.


Anhingas are unique because for one, they do not have waterproof feathers like other avians, such as ducks who oil their feathers. Because they lack waterproof feathers, they are not extremely buoyant and are able to stay underwater for extended periods of time to hunt for their meals. After enjoying a swim and their meal, Anhingas will search for an appropriate perch and dry their un-oiled feathers before they are able to fly again.


Though not uncommon in Southwest Florida, Anhingas are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act which makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird, or face a strict penalty.


These marvelous birds are a staple on just about any tour you can take and we hope that you will be able join us on the water and witness these beautiful creatures, and others, in their natural habitat!