3 Anhinga: The Big Fish 1  2  3  4  5
Anhinga diving bird swimming with a speared fish
Every so often I see a fish moving along several inches above the water. A closer look reveals a beak speared through the fish and the long slender neck of an Anhinga, or diving bird, supporting the fish in mid-air. Dinner is served!
Usually the bird swims off to some unreachable (by me) location to enjoy its meal. Once in a while though, I get to watch.
Anhinga with a big fish
This female anhinga speared her fish and brought it up to the shore in front of me to swallow. She worked really hard to get it off of her beak, and the fish got sand and leaves stuck to it in the process. Suddenly, she wiggled and moved really fast and then the fish was face first in her mouth. Finally, with a quick gulp, it was gone.
Anhinga swallowing the big fish whole
I see these birds eat little fish more often than I see them eat big fish. They come to the surface and poke their head out of the water with the little fish in their beak, flip it up into the air, and catch it face first to swallow it. I imagine they go down much easier that way. Have you ever held a fish? Those fins would poke painfully if they swallowed the fish backwards!
Anhinga swallowing the big fish whole
Look at the anhinga's eyes. The bird below has intense turquoise coloring around its eyes, but the one above does not. Both birds are girls. The turquoise eyed bird is getting ready for nesting season.
Diving Bird: Anhinga eating a small fish
Female Anhinga have a brown head and neck. The boys are all black. Both have black wings with a light dusting of white feathers that reminds me of a lace doily in the middle of a dark table.
Diving bird: Anhinga with breeding season turquoise eyes peeking out of the water and her tail feathers visible beneath it
Notice how pointy anhinga beaks are. Cormorants also dive, but they have a beak that curves down at the tip.
Diving bird: Anhinga with breeding season turquoise eyes peeking out of the water
Bird: Female Anhinga Landing
1: Anhinga
2: Little Chicks
3: Teenage Chicks
4: The Big Fish
5: Effect of Litter
Anhinga Diving Bird Eating A Tiny Fish
boy bird: male anhinga, a diving bird, resting in the sun on a branch over the water
male Anhinga diving bird drying his black and white feathers in the sun
Webbed yellow Anhinga diving bird foot with three claws
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