The Anhinga is a large water bird that is found around the world and is common in Florida, where all of the images in this post were taken. The Anhinga is an unusual bird with a long snake-like neck and a large tail that resembles that of a wild turkey which has resulted in the nick name “Water Turkey”. Anhingas are about three feet long with wing spans of approximately four feet. Like their cousin the Cormorants, they lack the ability to secrete oil onto their feathers in order to waterproof them. As a result they are less buoyant and very capable swimmers traveling deep under the surface to spear fish with their long sharp beak. Anhingas often paddle along the surface with only their neck and head above the water which is interesting to observe. The fact that their feathers are not waterproofed requires the Anhinga to dry off its feathers and wings before being able to fly. They do this by spreading their wings in the sun at the water’s edge or in nearby thickets.
Anhinga on the nest.
Although Anhingas are typically quiet, they will get quite vocal when challenged by other birds or predators. The next image also shows the tail display, quite similar to that of a wild turkey.
The classic swimming posture with the body completely submerged.
More images of Anhingas can be seen in the Pelicans, Anhingas and Cormorants Gallery