January 10, 2008

Anhinga


Anhinga are tropical and subtropical waterfowl of the darter family; you can see them near freshwater streams, lakes, and wetlands, perched on branches and rocks, endlessly drying their wings in the breeze. With very little oil in their feathers, their buoyancy is reduced, allowing them to dive fast and deep in pursuit of fish. They can swim underwater on extended hunts. They spear fish with their beaks, then bring them to the surface where they toss them in the air and catch them.


I found these at Lakes Park in Fort Myers. I've seen them on Sanibel and Captiva. The coloring of their lower beak and throat reminds me of the carnivorous pitcher plant. Like their cormorant cousins, they strike me as more decorative than beautiful, a subject perhaps for a Japanese painting.



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