Anhinga Bird

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

Anhinga bird - an expert fisherman

Looking for fish

I had opportunity to watch and photograph this bird while it was feeding.  He seemed to be an expert fisherman. The fish were contained in a small pool which I am sure helped him.  He feed in the pool near me for awhile, catching four or five fish in short amount of time.  Then flew out to limb to dry off and then after awhile flew to another pool in the marsh to keep feeding.

Anhing observing fish in the water below him

  • Anhinga getting ready to dive.....Purchase online...................................more information
  • Waiting for wings to dry
  • Bird food

Anhinga swims underwater to catch his fish

  • Swimming around looking for the fish
  • Anhinga swimming underwater
  • Submarine

Unlike most waterbirds, the Anhinga doesn't have waterproof feathers. While that may seem like a disadvantage for their watery lifestyle, their wet feathers and dense bones help them slowly submerge their bodies under the water so they can slyly stalk fish.


  • Nice catch
  • Dinner for the bird
  • Squirming fish in the grasp
  • Caught

It swims slowly underwater, stalking fish around submerged vegetation. Anhingas typically spear fish through their sides with a rapid thrust of their partially opened bill. They usually stab with both mandibles

Spears most fish in the side

  • Getting lined up to swallow
  • Stabbed and ready to toss

The side-spearing habit of the Anhinga suggests that the usual hunting method is by stalking rather than pursuit.

Flips fish in the air

  • Up and over
  • Fish toss
  • Caught in the grasp
  • Up in the air
  • Turning the fish around
  • A stabbed fish

The Anhinga has to flip fish with large dorsal fin in the air to turn the fish so he can swallow the fish head first.  If he didn't the dorsal fins of the fish would expand as tried to swallow the fish and would not go down his throat.

Swallowing his catch

Swallowing a fish

After fishing the Anhinga has to dry out since his feathers are not waterproof