Hisssss … the Snake Bird

Today’s post features the adult male Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), also known as “the snake bird”, photographed along the famous trail in the Everglades NP that was named after this beautiful bird, the Anhinga Trail. The Anhinga has often been called “the snake bird” due to it’s behavior. When swimming, often just the head and neck (which is long and thin) appear above the water … the bird’s body is below the surface. (It should be noted that the Double-crested Cormorant also exhibits this behavior). Another common behavior of the Anhinga (as well as the Double-crested Cormorant) is that it will usually perch with it’s wings held out to the side, to help dry them after swimming in the water. This is necessary since the Anhinga is not able to waterproof it’s wings via uropygial, or oil glands, like many other birds. The Anhinga is a beautiful bird, but it’s beauty kicks up at least a couple of notches when it is in breeding plumage. Lucky for me, breeding season happened to occur during my Florida trip! Here are a few images I captured of  the male “Snake Bird”: Anhinga adult male With the long neck, they seem to be contortionists: Anhinga adult male Anhinga adult male Talk about a “crook in the neck”! Anhinga adult male The anhingas above are getting their breeding plumage: they get white plumes on the head and neck (you can see the white plumes among the black plumes), the facial skin becomes emerald to turquoise, the bill turns a bright yellow). In a separate post, I’ll feature the female anhinga.Coincidentally, I found a nest of young anhingas, so will share a few photos of them in a post, too. Photography Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens, shot from 360mm to 400mm
  • Handheld with IS “On”
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/100 sec – 1/125 sec.
Posted in Bird Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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