Birdwatching: Anhinga

Anhinga anhinga

Everyone should meet the Anhinga. A long-tailed, long-necked swimmer of cypress swamps, rivers and wooded ponds. Often seen perched on a limb above the water, with its wings half-spread to dry. Or the Anhinga is sometimes swimming with only head and neck above water. They are often seen in waterways, often mistaken for water snakes. With only their beaks pointed skyward whilst their body remains submerged. Anhingas spend a lot of time underwater.

Distinguishing traits

  • Great swimmers and adept hunters.
  • Dense bones.
  • Non-oily feathers.
  • Boasts a sharply pointed bill.
  • Have long tails and white markings along the back.
  • Nick-named: Turkey Birds.
  • Long graceful necks.
  • Darters

Anhinga or Cormorant?

Anhingers are usually mistaken for the Double-Breasted Cormorants.

  • The Anhinga displays a sharply pointed bill.
  • The Cormorant a hooked-tip bill.


You can see them along shorelines or in treetops. They are often with their wings and tail feathers, spread wide and face turned towards the sun, as they dry out.


Sometimes they nest in isolated pairs, or usually in groups. In mixed colonies with herons, ibises or cormorants.

About Amat Victoria Curam

Healing and personal growth with the help of Photography and Writing.